MoRTH (Ministry Of Road Transport And Highways) issues a new Gazette notification making dual front airbags compulsory. This was a long-awaited demand from the road safety groups. Since 1st July 2019, it was mandatory for all vehicles to have a driver-side airbag, but the front-passenger side airbag was optional, though most of the car manufacturers equipped them voluntarily. This new regulation will lead to an increase in the price of entry-level models from the car manufacturers which did not come with a passenger-side airbag.
Front Airbags and Their Importance
There is no denying the fact that the more the number of airbags in a car, the more is the safety. But, in a price-sensitive market like India, car manufacturers have to compromise on the safety aspect and thus they are left with no choice but to equip the car with the minimum safety features as mandated by the Government of India. As per the new notification, carmakers will have to equip all the new models with dual airbags from 1st April 2021, whereas for all the existing models the deadline is August 31st 2021. The notification also states that the co-driver airbag will have to comply with the AIS 145 (Automotive Industry Standards) safety norms until the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) specifications are out.
Cars Affected With This New Regulation
Most of the entry-level trims of the cars in the price bracket of INR 3,00,000 to INR 5,00,000 (ex-showroom) which includes, Hyundai Santro, Renault Kwid, Datsun Redi Go, Maruti Suzuki Eeco, S-Presso, and WagonR to name a few, sold without a passenger-side airbag will now receive a price hike in the range of INR 5,000 to INR 10,000. With this change, the mandatory safety equipment lists will now have ABS, rear parking sensors, front occupant seat belt reminders, a high-speed alert system along with the mandatory dual front airbags. There are rumours suggesting that the central government is planning to add ESC (Electronic Stability Control) and AEB (Autonomous emergency Braking) to the list as well. Recently MoRTH announced the list of RTOs services that are now available online, which does add to the peace of the citizens.