Proposal approved to mandate 6 airbags in new vehicles as standard fitment
The government is proposing a change in Indian vehicle safety equipment standards, taking the current mandatory 2 airbags in M1 category passenger vehicles up to a total of 6 airbags as standard. Road and Transport Minister, Nitin Gadkari, tweeted that a draft notification has been approved to make a minimum of 6 airbags mandatory. For context, the driver airbag was made mandatory in 2019, while the co-driver airbag was made mandatory in 2021, while Gadkari had urged all automakers to make 6 airbags standard last year.
The additional 4 airbags will come in the form of two side airbags (usually fitted at the front of the cabin), and two curtain airbags which usually stretch along the length of the cabin to protect occupant's heads along the first/second/third rows of seating. M1 category classifications with up to eight passengers capacity include hatchbacks, sedans, compact SUVs, MUVs and the like. Undoubtedly, the cost of all cars, especially budget models up to the Rs 9-10 lakh mark where 6 airbags aren't offered even as optional extras, will rise. In some cases, some of these vehicles will also require extensive re-engineering to allow effective fitment of the extra four airbags, as this level of safety equipment of 6 airbags is not currently mandated anywhere else in the world.
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