In 2019, the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) has made safety features like driver-side airbags, ABS, rear parking sensors, driver seatbelt reminders, and a high-speed alert system mandatory for all cars sold in India. Now, in order to make passenger cars more safer, the Government of India has issued a Gazette notification making front-passenger side airbags compulsory for new vehicles from April 1, 2021, onwards. Existing models sold will have time till 31st August 2021 to get a co-passenger airbag fitted.
As per the government, it is an essential safety mandate, which is based on the suggestions of the Supreme Court Committee on Road Safety. MoRTH has now revised the Central Motor Vehicle Rules, 1989 with an amendment which says, “Vehicles manufactured on and after the 1st day of April 2021, in the case of new models, and 31st day of August 2021, in the case of existing models, shall be fitted with airbag for the person occupying the front seat, other than the driver.” The co-driver airbag will have to adhere to the AIS 145 (Automotive Industry Standards) safety norms till the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) specifications are notified.
These cars will be affected by the new regulation: –
While most of the cars come with a dual-front airbags setup as standard fitment, the new norm will affect a few budget models that only come with a driver-side airbag as standard. These mainly include Maruti Alto, Datsun Redi-GO, Maruti S-Presso, Renault Kwid, Maruti WagonR, Maruti Celerio, Maruti Eeco, Hyundai Santro, Mahindra Bolero, etc. However, some of the variants of these cars offer a passenger-side airbag as an option.
These models will have to be updated as per the latest safety norms by August 31. With this, they are likely to become costlier by Rs 5,000-10,000. Though these cars will surely become costlier, they will provide an added degree of protection in the case of a misfortune.
Also Read: Front Center Airbag, Explained!!
In the other news, the government is considering the introduction of active safety features such as AEB (autonomous emergency braking) and ESC (electronic stability control) that can help avert mishaps.