Minister of Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari on Thursday said that the six-airbag norm for passenger cars will be implemented from October next year as auto companies face supply chain disruptions.

“”Considering the global supply chain constraints being faced by the auto industry and its impact on the macroeconomic scenario, it has been decided to implement the proposal mandating a minimum of 6 airbags in passenger Cars (M-1 Category) w.e.f October 1, 2023,” the Minister tweeted.

The safety of passengers is the priority, irrespective of the cost or variant of vehicle, he emphasised.

Earlier this year, the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) had said that to safeguard motor vehicle passengers against lateral impact, it has been decided to enhance safety features by amending the Central Motor Vehicles Rules (CMVR), 1989.

“A draft notification has been issued on January 14, 2022, which mandates that vehicles of category M1, manufactured after October 1, 2022, shall be fitted with two side/side torso airbags, one each for the persons occupying front row outboard seating positions, and two side curtain/tube air bags, one each for the persons occupying outboard seating positions,” it had said.

MoRTH has already mandated the fitment of driver airbag with effect from July 1, 2019, and front co-passenger airbag with effect from January 1, 2022.

Welcoming the development, Maruti Suzuki India Chairman R C Bhargava told the BusinessLine “Industry had been seeking postponement because there was not enough time and the market was down and it is great that the government has recognised the validity of what we were saying and they have acted very supportive of the industry.”

Federation of Automobile Dealers Associations (FADA) President Manish Raj Singhania said, “We appreciate the MoRTH’s ongoing efforts to improve vehicle safety and their commitment to reducing the number of fatalities from traffic accidents. It is a good idea to push back the implementation of the plan mandating a minimum of 6 airbags in passenger cars (M-1 Category) by one year, from the original deadline of 1 October 2022 to the new deadline of 1 October 2023. The entire industry will feel a big sense of comfort from this.”

Airbags

The side/ side torso airbag means any inflatable restraint device mounted to the seats or side structure of a vehicle’s interior, and designed to deploy in a side impact crash to help mitigate torso injury and/or occupant ejection, from front row outboard seats.

A side curtain/ tube airbag is any inflatable restraint device mounted to the side structure of a vehicle’s interior, and designed to deploy in a side impact crash or rollover to help mitigate head injury and/or occupant ejection from outboard seating positions.

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