The Union Road Transport and Highways Ministry on Tuesday proposed making it compulsory for cars to carry airbags for the passenger side of the front seats. According to a draft notification issued by the Transport Ministry, the Centre plans to implement this norm for all new models of cars which are manufactured from April 1, 2021, onwards. While, for already existing units, the date for complying with the new rule is proposed to be June 1, 2021.
The government has invited stakeholders to comment on its proposed new rule in the next one month. Previously, the government had made having an airbag mandatory for the driver's seat in all cars. This had come into effect on July 1, 2019.
The draft notification issued by the Transport Ministry read, "Vehicles manufactured on and after 1st Day of April 2021, in the case of new models, and 1st day of June 2021, in the case of existing models, shall be fitted with airbag for the person occupying the front seat, other than the driver. The requirement for such airbag shall be as per AIS 145...under the Bureau of Indian Standards act, 2016".
As of now, only the driver's seat airbag is mandatory for all cars. However, this leaves the passenger in the front seat completely vulnerable to severe injury or even death in case of accidents as they are not protected by the airbag.
Low-cost inclusions such as speed alert, reverse parking sensors and seat-belt reminders have become standard features in most cars but life-saving airbags are still not mandatory.