Road safety in India has started receiving attention on again. Almost 1.4lakh people are killed every year in road accidents which account the highest in the world. In order to meet the demand for affordable vehicles, manufactures have often been forced to overlook safety aspects of the cars. The new safety guidelines are likely to make front and side crash testing as mandatory. The tests would be conducted at 56kmph speeds which are in accordance with the latest European standards.
Toyota Motors has decided to make antilock braking system (ABS) as standard in all its vehicles. It would probably become one of the most important events in the history Indian automobile industry since Toyota is first manufacturer in India to adopt this move. In October, last year, the company also started offering an option of airbags across all cars that it sells in India.
N Raja, director and senior vice president, sales and marketing at Toyota Kirloskar said “The new safety regulations are likely to be enforced by 2017 and further norms towards pedestrian safety are also likely to be implemented by the end of the decade. Our current initiative will not only offer a safer car to our buyers, but also give us an edge against the competition"
There is no specific date when this comes in to practice since the timeline on this has not been decided. However, it is expected that all vehicles that would be manufactured in the year 2017 would feature ABS as standard.
Volkswagen back made airbags as standard across all its cars in India sometime back. Airbags and ABS were always offered as standard features on luxury cars in India. The entry level cars though have almost always skipped on these features.
Toyota has plans to test its cars in India with the help of humanoid, which the company internally calls - THUMS (Total Human Model for Safety). The purpose of crash testing with humanoid is to approximate the real impact on body parts and internal organs.
Globally, Toyota uses the speed of 65kmph to crash test its vehicles for both frontal and side crash. One of the main design aspects that engineers have to meet is that in an event of crash, the driver's door should open.
According to Raja, majority of customers don’t want to have airbags or other safety equipment and prefer entertainment system instead. However, some reports of Indian-made cars failing crash tests and the joint efforts of dealers have helped to educate customers.