The Indian government is likely to miss the October 1 deadline to implement the rule of having six mandatory airbags in a car, sources told Business Today TV.
"We are still in discussions with the stakeholders and want safer cars on roads as soon as possible" the source added.
In January 2022, The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, in its draft notification, proposed that "vehicles of category M1, manufactured after 1st October 2022, shall be fitted with two side/side torso air bags, 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, which in total adds up to six airbags per car."
An airbag is a vehicle occupant-restraint system which interferes between the driver and the vehicle's dashboard during a collision, thereby preventing serious injuries.
Road safety in India has come under sharp focus after the death of business tycoon Cyrus Mistry in a road accident on Ahmedabad-Mumbai highway recently. While the government is in talks with carmakers to install rear seat belt alarms and has issued draft rules to make it mandatory, wearing seat belts in the rear seat has been mandatory since October 2002. According to Rule 138 (3) of the Central Motor Vehicle Rules (CMVR), passengers sitting in the rear and not wearing seat belts can be fined Rs 1,000, but are hardly followed due to poor enforcement.
Addressing the annual session of Automotive Component Manufacturers Association of India (ACMA), union minister Nitin Gadkari pointed out that every year, some 5 lakh road accidents kill 1.5 lakh people and injure over 3 lakhs. "Majority of automobile manufacturers in India are exporting cars with 6 airbags. But in India, because of the economic model and cost, they are hesitating," he said.
Gadkari had earlier called upon all the state transport ministers and officials to work together to reduce road accidents and deaths by 50 per cent by 2024. Gadkari also proposed training engineering students for conducting safety audits of the roads on the basis of which action can be taken by the ministry.
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