Six airbags in cars could soon become mandatory to make road travel safer in India, stated Nitin Gadkari, the Minister of Road Transport and Highways of India (MorTH), as reported by NDTV. Currently, cars must have two airbags for the passengers in the front seats- the driver and the passenger alongside.
The order regarding the second airbag came last year in March when the ministry had mandated that the vehicles manufactured on and after 1 April 2021 will have an airbag fitted for the person occupying the front seat other than the driver, reported The Times of India last year.
Ministry has issued Gazette notification regarding mandatory provision of an airbag for passenger seated on front seat of a vehicle, next to driver. This has been mandated as an important safety feature & is also based on suggestions of Supreme Court Committee— PIBIndiaMoRTH (@PIBMoRTH) March 5, 2021
on Road Safety pic.twitter.com/JALS5rzHmG
The current proposition regarding mandating six airbags is being discussed. According to the data provided by MoRTH, 1,51,113 people were killed in road accidents, along with 4,51,361 people being injured. According to the National Crime Record Bureau, 17 538 car occupants died in road crashes, as The Times of India reported.
Safety Of Rear-Seat Passengers
Moreover, safety for the passengers in the rear is overlooked. "We could save more lives and prevent more injuries if we paid the same attention to the rear seat of cars as we have to the front seat," said Lynne Bilston, associate professor at the University of New South Wales, as reported by The Hindu.
According to another study conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), passengers in the rear seats require more sophisticated restraints. It is suggested that seat belts and airbags fitted in the back part of the car could help provide safety to the passengers on rear seats, as reported by The Financial Express.
The approximate cost of the four airbags and corresponding changes in the vehicle's structure will amount up to Rs. 8000 to Rs. 9000. Sources in the report by the Times of India mentioned that this additional cost would go a long way in protecting passengers in the cars.