India will soon have the most stringent car safety norms, some of them surpassing even the US by 2023, a senior government official said on Wednesday.
"Advanced safety features in all vehicles in India cannot be confined to luxury vehicles only. Features like Anti-Lock braking have already been mandatory in Two wheelers and by next month (October 2018) all new cars will have pedestrian safety feature including new design of the bonnet to reduce impact on pedestrians during accidents," said Abhay Damle, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) on Wednesday.
Indian roads are the most dangerous in the world and 1,40,000 people die due to accidents every year. Yet, road safety measures, in general, and for vehicles, in particular, have lagged global standards. The existing government's blueprint for crash tests in India has mandated all new car launches from October last year to be fitted with dual airbags. For existing brands the same yardstick comes into force from next month.
"India does not have Bharat New Car Assessment Program (BNCAP) but we are implementing all safety features in our vehicles with active support of vehicle manufacturers. Electronic Stability Control (ESC) and Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) will be incorporated in new vehicles between year 2022 and 2023. ABS and automatic headlights for two wheelers has already been mandated," he said.
"By the year 2022 most of our vehicle safety will be at par with global standards and some safety features may surpass United States safety standards even," he added. "But real challenge is bringing in maximum safety at affordable cost so that cost of vehicles does not go up steeply."
Damle was speaking at the launch of an initiative 'Stop The Crash' at India's Formula 1 circuit Budh International Circuit (BIC) in Greater Noida, by UK-based Global NCAP that conducts independent crash safety tests across the world and Institute of Road Traffic Education.
Global NCAP, which wants to help stop production of all zero safety star rated cars around the world, first grabbed headlines in India on the eve of the biennial Delhi motor show in January 2014 when it tested five Indian cars. All of them -- Tata Nano, Maruti Alto 800, Hyundai i10, Ford Figo and Volkswagen Polo, fared miserably and scored a zero. Since then it has given heart burn to Indian car companies on numerous occasions. Ten months later, Datsun Go and Maruti Swift could not muster pass marks. In 2016, the base variants of the Kwid, Hyundai Eon, Maruti Celerio, Eeco, Honda Mobilio, Tata Zest and Mahindra Scorpio, all scored zero stars as well. Last year, the Renault Duster and Chevrolet Enjoy would also join the list."We are focused on international consumer-orientated vehicle safety initiatives and are hosting our first ever World Congress in India to provide an opportunity to assess the contribution that safer vehicles can make to the United Nations' Decade of Action for Road Safety and the Sustainable Development Goals," said David Ward, secretary general, Global NCAP. "The 'Stop The Crash' program will encourage the adoption of autonomous braking systems, a technology that is known to greatly reduce the risk to both the car in question and other vehicles or vulnerable road users around it in case of a detected crash/obstacle."
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