After waiting for enhanced safety standards for motor vehicles sold in India, the Union government has decided to make it compulsory from October 2022 to have six airbags for a vehicle with a capacity of up to eight passengers.
In a series of tweets, Nitin Gadkari, Union minister of road transport & highways, says, "To minimise the impact of frontal and lateral collisions to the occupants seated in both front and rear compartments, it has been decided that four additional airbags be mandated in the M1 vehicle category, i.e., two side/ side torso airbags and two side curtain/ tube airbags covering all outboard passengers. This is a crucial step to make motor vehicles in India safer than ever."
The ministry had already mandated the fitment of the driver airbag from 1 July 2019 and the front co-passenger airbag from 1 January 2022.
"This (six airbags) will ultimately ensure the safety of passengers across all segments, irrespective of the cost or variant of the vehicle," Mr Gadkari says.
Vehicles of category M1 that is used for the carriage of passengers, comprising not more than eight seats, in addition to the driver’s seat, manufactured after 1 October 2022, will be fitted with two side or side torso airbags, one each for the persons occupying the front row outboard seating positions, and two side-curtain or tube airbags, one each for the persons occupying outboard seating positions.
Side or side torso airbag means an inflatable occupant restraint device that is mounted to the seats or side structure of the vehicle interior, and that is designed to deploy in a side-impact crash to help mitigate primarily torso injury and/or occupant ejection, for the persons occupying front row outboard seating positions.
Side curtain or tube airbag means an inflatable occupant restraint device that is mounted to the side structure of the vehicle interior, and that is designed to deploy in a side-impact crash or rollover to help mitigate primarily head injury and/or occupant ejection for the persons occupying the outboard seating positions.
According to the road accident data published by the National Crime Record Bureau, 17,538 occupants died in road crashes; this accounts for around 13% of the total road fatalities in India.
Only last year, the minister had asked all private vehicle manufacturers to include a minimum of six airbags across all variants and segments.
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