Road transport minister Nitin Gadkari has said that the government, by the end of 2022, expects carmakers to mandatorily provide at least six airbags in eight-seater vehicles for enhanced safety of occupants.
An airbag is a vehicle occupant-restraint system which activates between the driver and the vehicle’s dashboard during a collision, thereby preventing serious injuries.
The push for the key safety feature comes after the death of Cyrus Mistry in a road accident on Sunday. The tragedy has renewed concerns about road safety in the world’s fourth-largest automobile market.
Earlier this year, the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) had in a statement said that in order to enhance the safety of occupants of motor vehicles, it has been decided to enhance safety features by amending the Central Motor Vehicles Rules (CMVR), 1989.
According to National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) data, over 1.55 lakh people were killed in road crashes across the country in 2021 – an average of 426 daily or 18 every single hour which is the highest death figures recorded in any calendar year so far.
As per the ministry estimates, having airbags, along with seat belts, could have saved at least onethird of the 39,000 people who died in road accidents in 2020 due to head-on or side collisions.
Last year, Gadkari had said in an interview that small cars, mostly purchased by lower middle-class citizens, should also have an adequate number of airbags and had wondered why automakers are providing eight airbags only in big cars bought by rich people.
His remarks had come against the backdrop of the automobile industry raising concerns that high taxation and stricter safety and emission norms for vehicles have made their products expensive.