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Airbag mandatory for front seat passenger

New rule is announced on suggestions of SC Committee on Road Safety. (Photo: Hyundai website)

Airbag made mandatory for front-seat passenger in new cars

Finally, the government has made the front-seat passenger-side airbag mandatory in all new cars. The rule applies to all new model vehicles manufactured on and after 1 April 2021 in case of new models, in case of the existing models of the vehicles the deadline to fit them with the mandatory airbag before sale is 31 August 2021.

The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) issued a Gazette notification regarding the mandatory provision of an airbag for the passenger seated on the front seat of a vehicle next to the driver. In a tweet, the ministry informed, ‘this has been mandated as an important safety feature and is also based on suggestions of Supreme Court Committee on Road Safety.’

‘The requirement for such airbag shall be as per Automotive Industry Standard (AIS) 145 till the corresponding Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) specifications are notified under the Bureau of Indian Standards Act, 2016,’ the Road Transport and Highways ministry informed.

The Automotive Industry Standards (AIS) are the automotive technical specifications of India which ensure the standards of safety features in vehicles. The new regulations implied that the manufacturers who so far have been providing only driver-side airbags in the lower variants of cars while dual airbags were available in the higher variants of the vehicles, would have to offer dual front airbags in all variants of cars irrespective of their segments or brackets.

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The addition of a compulsory feature, however, may impact the cost of the cars with a rise in the price (Approximately above Rs 5000, depending on the brand and the variant) for the buyers.

Though, it is important to note that the absence of a front-seat airbag puts the passenger at very high risk in case of an accident, while an airbag in place will protect the occupant from severe injuries or death. The reason why the government had been planning to make it mandatory for all cars.

Two years ago, the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) had an airbag mandatory for the driver seat in all cars. The rule had come into effect on July 1, 2019.

The government had also made safety features like speed alert, reverse parking sensors and seat-belt reminders mandatory for all cars.