India is now one of the fastest growing car markets in the world. But it’s quite disturbing to see the level of safety in India. Poor structural integrity and the absence of basic safety features like airbags, ABS is putting the lives of Indian consumers at risk. There are 30 lakh cars on Indian roads already where almost 4 lakh accidents take place every year.
Indian consumers have a right to know how safe their cars are and also expect the same level of safety provided to customers in other part of the world. Therefore for a safe drive the government has announced that it will be mandatory for all new cars in India to have basic safety features such as air bags, anti-lock braking systems, child restraint systems, seat belt reminders and reinforced body structures from October next year. The government will also make crash test compulsory for all new vehicles. The Bharat New Vehicle Safety Assessment Programme (BNVSAP) will be brought in force for all new cars from October 2017. Auto companies will be given a lead time of three years to implement these safety parameters as they would need to change their assembly lines and product designs. This would lead to a lot of old cars being scrapped from the Indian market on account of non-compliance with the new safety norms.
The new NCAP regulations would make the manufacturers to reinforce the car’s structure in line with European standards, which will enable it to pass frontal and side impact crash tests at 56 kmph. At the moment, all passenger cars in Indian are equipped to withstand frontal crash tests at 46 kmph. The prices for entry level car will rise by by Rs. 30,000 to Rs. 35,000 from October 2015. Prices of lower-end variants of some small and mid-segment cars could also rise by a similar amount once these safety features become the norm.
Five of the most popular small cars in India, Maruti Alto 800, Tata Nano, Ford Figo, Hyundai i10 and Volkswagen Polo, failed Global NCAP crash tests earlier this year. All these cars were selected by Global NCAP for testing in a frontal impact at 64kmph and received zero-star adult protection ratings.
The vehicle structure of Maruti Suzuki Alto 800, Tata Nano and Hyundai i10 proved inadequate and collapsed to varying degrees, resulting in high risks of life-threatening injuries to the occupants. The degree of the structural weaknesses in these models was such that fitting airbags would not be effective in reducing the risk of serious injury. Ford Figo and Volkswagen Polo remained stable during the crash test. And therefore, with airbags fitted, protection for the driver and front passenger would be much improved. Corresponding to the Global NCAP tests, Volkswagen is now offering airbags as standard feature in all models in India. Other manufacturers had the same opportunity. Toyota also made it mandatory by offering airbags in its small car Liva and sedan Etios.
You would also like to read - 50% of Road Death Accidents in India take place at Crossings