All cars manufactured after July 1, 2019, will have to be equipped with airbags, seat-belt reminders, alert systems for speeds beyond 80kmph, reverse parking alerts, as well as manual override over the central locking system for emergencies .
The Union road transport ministry has approved the timeline for the implementation of these systems, and it will be notified in a few days.
At present, only luxury cars have such features, which are crucial for the safety of occupants. Union road transport minister Nitin Gadkari has approved the move for passenger as well as pedestrian safety on India’s roads as thousands of people die in road crashes+ every year. In 2016, speeding+ alone accounted for nearly 74,000 of the 1.51 lakh deaths in road accidents. “The new cars will be fitted with a system that issues audio alerts when the speed crosses 80kmph. The alert will be sharper when the vehicle crosses 100kmph, and non-stop when it’s over 120 kmph,” said a transport ministry official.
The manual override system would ensure ease of exit in case a electric power failure renders the central locking feature non-functional and traps passengers, as has been reported in multiple vehicular accidents. “To reduce the possibility of accidents while parking in reverse gear, the provision of reverse parking alert is being introduced. When the car is put in reverse gear, the feature will give an indication to the driver whether there are objects in the rear monitoring range,” said the official.
Sources said the enforcement of the provisions would pave the way for quicker implementation of frontal and side crash test for vehicles. Across the developed world, the focus is now more on ensuring the safety of occupants, and global safety experts argue that “no vehicle should be a death trap”.
Transport ministry sources said airbags and reverse sensors would also be made mandatory for light commercial vehicles, which primarily run in urban areas.