The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways issued a notification on Friday making it mandatory for new models to have dual airbags installed in them for the safety of passengers. The new models of cars will have to adhere to this norm from April 1, 2021, onwards. The Centre has given time till August 31, 2021, for dual airbag installation in older models.
This move is expected to increase car prices in the range of Rs 5,000 to Rs 7,000 on average. Till now, only the driver's seat airbag was mandatory for all cars. This left the passenger sitting in the front seat completely vulnerable to severe injury or even death in case the car met with an accident. Since July 2019, airbags for the driver's seat in the front row have been mandatory. The Centre has now made it mandatory for cars to have an airbag installed for the passenger side as well.
"It has been mandated that the vehicles manufactured on and after April 1, 2021, in the case of new models, and August 31, 2021, in the case of existing models, shall be fitted with airbag for the person occupying the front seat, other than the driver," says the notification. The mandate is based on the suggestions of Supreme Court Committee on Road Safety.
Airbags inflate extremely quickly upon collision and then deflate, cushioning the blow to passengers if the vehicle suddenly comes to a stop. Airbags are known to increase the chances of survival during accidents.
Earlier in December, the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways had proposed making it compulsory for cars to have airbags installed on the passenger side of the front seat.
In a draft notification issued on December 29, the Centre had stated that it wanted to implement this norm from April 1, 2021, for new models of cars, while for existing models the compliance date was June 1, 2021.
Till now life-saving airbags were not mandatory. Whereas low-cost inclusions such as speed alert, reverse parking sensors and seat-belt reminders had become standard features in most cars over the years.