6 Airbags, 3-Point Seatbelts To Become Mandatory Soon | V3Cars

A few days ago, Mr. Nitin Gadkari, the Union Transport Minister of India, proposed some major changes to the country’s vehicular safety norms via a series of tweets. Some of these proposed changes will come into effect as soon as the end of this year, while others are still under consideration. Nevertheless, they give us an insight into the revised safety rules we can expect in the future and how they might affect car buyers and manufacturers.

Road Safety New Rules

Some of the steps which the government plans to enforce soon include:

  • Mandatory 6 airbags (across all variants)
  • 3-point seatbelts for all the front-facing passengers
  • Bharat NCAP

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Mr. Nitin Gadkari proposed a draft mandating all car manufacturers to provide at least 6 airbags (front, side and curtain) in all variants of cars capable of transporting up to 8 passengers. Currently, only 2 airbags (driver and front passenger) are mandatory, while carmakers can provide more if they so wish. The new 6 airbag rule will come into effect on October 1, 2022.

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Another new rule that will come into effect in October this year is mandatory 3-point seatbelts for all front-facing passengers. This includes the middle passenger seat at the rear, which is often equipped with a lap belt, similar to the ones seen on airplanes. The side-facing passengers seats at the rear already get 3-point seatbelts. A 3-point seatbelt provides better safety compared to a lap belt.

Also, India will very soon get its own crash test facility. The facility will test all car models sold in the country and rate them using a star system based on their performance. This facility will likely be called Bharat NCAP. Currently, most cars sold in India are crash-tested by private firms like Global NCAP. Mr. Nitin Gadkari said that the process of setting up a crash test facility is a long one and it could take months to be completed.

Effect On Customers And Manufacturers

Most mass-market cars currently sold in India do not get 6 airbags, even in their top-spec trims. These vehicles will need structural changes to make space for the extra airbags. This, in turn, will increase manufacturing costs and ultimately make the car costlier.

However, cars which are already equipped with 6 airbags in their top trims will only need minimal modifications to accommodate the extra airbags in lower variants. But, even such minimal modifications can potentially impact the prices of the lower-spec trims.

To put things in perspective, Skoda recently replaced the Kushaq’s 2 airbag variant with a 6 airbag variant. Due to this, customers now have to shell out Rs. 40,000 more over the discontinued 2 airbag variant.

Also Read: Skoda Kushaq Style With 2 Airbags Discontinued

To further contain the price hike, the Union Minister said that production linked initiative (PLI) scheme should boost domestic production of airbags, resulting in a fall in prices.

Mass production could also bring the prices of airbags down and make them more affordable. We can expect the additional 4 airbags to add about Rs. 20,000 to the ex-showroom price of the cars when they go from 2 airbags to 6. The inclusion of 1 more 3-point seatbelt will only add a negligible amount to the cost of the vehicle.

Rules Under Implementation

Other safety systems that are under implementation could include topics such as electronic stability control, advanced emergency braking systems, safe transport of dangerous goods, ease of mobility for the differently-abled, driver drowsiness attention warning system, blind-spot information system, advanced driver assistance system (ADAS) and lane departure warning system.

However, we do not expect the government to make these features mandatory anytime soon as these will make cars very costly and unaffordable for many potential buyers.

To justify the inclusion of additional safety features, Mr. Nitin Gadkari said, “The emphasis on road safety by the government is due to the fact that 1,50,000 people are killed every year in about 5,00,000 road accidents, causing a loss of 3.1% to the GDP. My aim is to reduce road accidents by about 50% by the year 2025. To achieve this, we will be undertaking a slew of measures, some of which would be mandated under rules, while others would be taken up from the enforcement point of view,”

Also Read: Mahindra Bolero Now Gets Dual Airbags As Standard


Mohammad Osaaf

In the age of SUVs and crossovers, it's the traditional, 3-box sleeper sedans that excite him the most. All it needs is a punchy engine, a tight chassis and everyday practicality. Skoda Octavia VRS and BMW M5 are his favourites.


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