Airbags mandated for front passenger seat

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on March 06, 2021

Though the new rule comes as an important safety measure, it is likely to add to the cost of the vehicle, say manufacturers   -  Getty Images/iStockphoto

Rule to apply on all new models from April 1, existing ones from August 31

To make driving safe, the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways has made airbags mandatory in all car models for both the driver and the passenger occupying the front seat, with effect from August 31, 2021.

According to a Ministry notification, for new models — for example, the upcoming Hyundai Motor's Alcazar (7-seater SUV) — the rule comes into effect for cars manufactured on and after April 1, 2021.

For existing models like Maruti Suzuki Alto or Swift, they will have to be fitted with airbags by August 31.

The new rule has been mandated based on the suggestions of the Supreme Court Committee on Road Safety.

Will add to vehicle cost...

However, the new rule will add to the cost of vehicles.

According to manufacturers, the additional airbag for the front passenger seat will add ₹6,000-8,000 to entry-level cars and ₹40,000-50,000 for high-end vehicles.

... but will save lives

Analysts said it is a right move, in terms of safety of the occupants in the front row, as many vehicles that are exported from India have dual airbags as a standard. The move is a bit late, but nevertheless will definitely help save lives, they said.

In December, the Ministry had proposed making airbags compulsory for the front passenger. These airbags inflate during a mishap and save life of the occupants.

This is an addition to the government’s steps to make cars safer and on par with global norms. It has already made reverse parking sensors, high-speed alerts (beep sound at 80kmph and beyond) and seat-belt reminders as a standard in all vehicles.

Published on March 06, 2021

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