Transport Ministry’s Draft Mandates 6 Airbags for 8-Seater Cars

The central government recently issued a draft notification desiring comments from the public and other stakeholders on the proposed rule, which will require car manufacturers to provide six airbags beginning October 1, 2022. The government will review the comments received over the next month before issuing a final notification with modifications, if any, to implement the rule.

“In order to enhance the safety of the occupants in motor vehicles carrying up to 8 passengers, I have now approved a draft GSR Notification to make a minimum of 6 airbags compulsory,” tweeted Gadkari.

This notification follows Union Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari’s appeal to car manufacturers on August 3rd last year to offer six airbags across all variants and segments of vehicles. Offering six airbags as standard in a car will, without a doubt, improve the vehicle’s crash safety rating, but there may be some challenges, particularly in the budget segment.

For instance, it will inevitably raise vehicle prices. A front airbag in a low-cost car typically costs between Rs 5,000 and Rs 10,000, while side and curtain airbags can cost twice as much. The second concern is that installing additional airbags will necessitate extensive reworking of vehicles that were not originally designed to provide that level of protection.

Moreover, to ensure that the airbags deploy effectively and safely, changes to the body shell, as well as interior trim and fittings, would be required. This, too, would raise the cost. As of now, all vehicles must have two airbags, one for the driver and one for the front-seat passenger. The driver’s seat airbag rule became mandatory on July 1, 2019, while the co-passenger airbag rule went into effect on January 1, 2022.

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