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All cars in India, including lower-spec variants will soon come with driver and front passenger airbags as standard. The government had previously mandated only the driver's side airbags for all cars, however, this will soon change.
According to Times Of India, the government proposal to make airbags mandatory for both the driver and front passengers has been approved by the top-most technical committee. Reports also suggest a draft notification has already been put forth to amend the AIS (Automotive Industry Standard), which deals with the safety features on vehicles.
A government official also told TOI that there will be no compromise on safety features on cars, irrespective of the costs. As part of a global consensus, all vehicles should have maximum features to protect the occupants in case of any incidents.
Alongside the government's plans, the road transport ministry is already said to have started working on establishing a timeline to implement the new norm. Reports suggest that a time period of one year should be enough to ensure all cars comply with the new safety norms.
Back in July 2019, the government had updated the safety norms for vehicles across India. As per the norms then, features such as driver's side airbags, high speed alert, seatbelt warning sign, rear parking sensors were made mandatory.
While these have become a part of the standard safety features list since then, passenger-side airbags are yet to be made mandatory. While higher variants and top-end cars do offer this feature as standard, entry level cars and lower variants still miss out on this feature. This leaves the front passenger completely vulnerable to severe injury or even death in case of accidents.
Thoughts On Making Passenger Airbags Mandatory On All Cars
This is an excellent move from the government, which will ensure the safety of front passengers and the driver. With India now more conscious of the level of protection offered by cars, this comes in at the right time.