For a long time, car manufacturers prioritized cost-cutting due to intense competition within the automobile industry while passenger safety took a back seat. Now, the government has made airbags mandatory on the front passenger seat.
Here’s all you should know about the new airbag notification and its implications for you.
What is the New Airbag Rule?
The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) issued a notification on 5 March 2021, stating that all new models of vehicles manufactured on and after 1 April 2021 shall be equipped with airbags for the front passenger seat alongside the driver.
Moreover, the existing models of vehicles that are already being manufactured will also have to comply with the new rules by 31 August 2021. This mandate applies to all cars in the M1 category, i.e., passenger vehicles with less than eight seats, in addition to the driver.
Why is a second Airbag important?
According to a World Bank report, India accounts for 10% of all road crash victims in the world.
- Role of an Airbag:
An airbag is an important safety feature designed to inflate quickly as a cushion between the dashboard and the front seat occupant during a collision, thereby reducing the chances of severe injuries and death.
- Importance of Second Airbag:
While airbags for drivers were made mandatory in 2019, that seemed inadequate since the front seat co-passenger remained vulnerable. The second airbag will considerably improve safety levels for the front seat passenger.
What does the new Airbag rule mean for you?
The new airbag notification, while appreciated for emphasising passenger safety, has also created some confusion.
- Will you need to fit an airbag in your existing car?
The answer is no. Airbags are complex units that need to be strategically placed in the vehicle during the design phase itself. Retrofitting an airbag is not possible since the sensors need to be well-connected to the installed unit.
- Will you be fined if your car doesn’t have a passenger airbag?
This notification is for the manufacturers, not the customers. You will not be fined if your car doesn’t have a passenger seat airbag.
- Will the cars become more expensive due to this rule?
As a consequence of this rule, the prices of the affected cars are expected to go up by ₹5,000 to ₹8,000.
While there could be a slight increase in cost, it’s a small price to pay for an essential life-saving feature like the airbag. It’s important to remember that the passenger’s safety is of utmost importance.