Nitin Gadkari urges carmakers to follow the six airbags rule
Union Minister Nitin Gadkari has recently been in the spotlight for promoting the implementation of the six airbags rule in India. He has now urged all carmakers to cooperate with the Centre for promoting vehicular safety. The new rule is expected to be finalized by the end of this fiscal year, along with the addition of an alert system for rear seatbelts.
- According to the data from National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), nearly 1.55 lakh deaths occurred due to road accidents in India last year.
- The renewed push for better road safety comes after the death of Cyrus Mistry, which some argue was an indirect result of not wearing rear seatbelts.
- However, the mandatory six airbags rule has received some opposition from homegrown automaker Maruti Suzuki.
Meanwhile, Gadkari has urged all the carmakers to focus on quality and not cost. While addressing the Automotive Component Manufacturers Association of India (ACMA), he said that the cars made and exported from India are equipped with six airbags. However, the India-specific models skip the critical safety feature. He hopes that the new measures will drastically reduce deaths from road accidents by 2024-end.
In India, the number of fatalities in road accidents is much higher than in developed countries such as Germany or Japan, even though the number of reported incidents is similar. The Centre is now prioritizing awareness of road safety norms among the general public by advertising the benefits of six airbags. In fact, a video featuring Bollywood superstar Akshay Kumar was also promoted.
According to the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH), the cost of airbags is around Rs. 800 per unit. However, Maruti Suzuki chairperson RC Bhargava estimated a jump of Rs. 25,000 in the ex-showroom cost of the vehicles for adding six airbags. He also claimed that small cars will need several structural changes, which will add to the final cost.