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Crash Tests Mandatory for Cars in India from October 2017

Snapshot: The frontal crash tests would be carried out at 56 kmph, while the norms set for side crash tests will be 50 kmph.

Road Transport Ministry of India has decided to implement the frontal and side crash tests strictly for all-new car models from October 2017. It would be mandatory for every new car model to pass minimum frontal and side crash tests to be eligible for sell in the country. The frontal crash tests would be carried out at 56 kmph, while the norms set for side crash tests will be 50 kmph.

Nitin Gadkari, Union Road Transport Minister said that each and every car, whether its small and cost-effective, must have minimum safety features. The fresh timelines will be notified soon by the road transport ministry. According to country's leading tabloid TOI, the revised timelines were finalized a few weeks back at a high level meeting. As mentioned before, all-new vehicles would have to undergo frontal and side crash tests from October 2017, while for new vehicles of existing models the deadline will be October 2019. An official from Transport Ministry said, "We are not asking them what should be fitted. But these must qualify during the crash tests to save occupants."

Sources said that to pass the mandatory crash tests, the cars need to have airbags and other necessary safety features such as child restraints. However, before the mandatory norms kick in, it will be voluntary for the car manufacturers to adopt these norms to showcase the safety aspects. Sources said facilities for carrying out tests by placing dummies in the front and rear seats would be ready by the end of 2015 and the government wants to give enough time to the manufacturers. Considering the fact that the test facilities within the country may be inadequate to meet the demand, the ministry will allow testing of new models at facilities outside India. However, to assess whether the new vehicles actually comply with the declared norms, an administrative body under the ministry will buy select vehicles and pay for the test. 

Majority of the automakers in India said that installation of features such as airbags, anti-lock braking system (ABS), electronic brake distribution, electronic stability control, seat belt reminder and child lock functionality check would push the car price by 30%. But Gadkari has said there can be no compromise on "mandatory safety features" in a country where over 1.4 lakh lives are lost in nearly five lakh road crashes every year. The ministry will also notify the Bharat New Vehicle Safety Assessment Programme ( BNVSAP) on the lines on New Car Assessment Programme (NCAP) in other countries. Under this programme, car manufacturers can go for star rating based on the cars having better safety features. They can apply for such ratings as is the practice in developed countries.

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