The earlier date set by the Government to mandate the dual airbags for all passenger vehicles was the 1st of April 2021. Because of the ongoing pandemic situation across the country, the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) has requested more time to implement the rule. Now the date has been extended to 31st of December 2021, this gives the necessary time for all manufacturers to make changes to their production line.
Focusing on passenger safety in cars, the Indian government announced the mandatory provision for dual airbags in the front row for all cars sold in India. This was announced back in March and made a mandatory rule for all new models coming after April 1 2021. Currently, the existing models are mandated to have only the driver’s seat airbag. But the existing models sold after April 1st are mandated to have dual airbags as standard.
Because of the new rule, the prices for the entry-level trims are going to be increased. Some of the budget-friendly cars like the Maruti Suzuki WagonR, S-presso, Hyundai Santro, Mahindra Bolero, and Renault Kwid are still offered only with a driver-side airbag for the base trim. Until now the only safety equipment for the front passenger was the seatbelt. Now with the inclusion of the new rule, the car price might go up and the safety rating will be increased. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration had earlier estimated that the combination of seatbelts and airbags can reduce the fatality rate by 61% and airbags alone can reduce the chance by 34%.
The Road Transport Ministry has taken road safety for automobiles in India seriously to reduce the fatality rates. Initially started by mandating driver-side airbags back in 2019 July, now it has urged the manufacturers to mandate dual front row airbags by the end of this year. It does not stop there, the Ministry is also working on making the Electronic stability program and Emergency Braking mandatory on all new vehicles that are manufactured and sold in India. This rule is expected to be implemented in 2022-2023, but it could be delayed because of the pandemic.