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6 airbags in cars won't be mandatory, says Union Minister Nitin Gadkari

The announcement from Nitin Gadkari comes at a time when there was confusion about the number of mandatory airbags in cars.

Edited By: Shubham Verma

Published: Sep 13, 2023, 05:38 PM IST

Nitin Gadkari has said 6 airbags will be optional in cars.
Nitin Gadkari has said 6 airbags will be optional in cars.

Story Highlights

  • Six airbags are not mandatory in cars, the union minister said.
  • The safety will be assessed through Bharat NCAP ratings, instead.
  • The government set October 1 deadline for the implementation earlier.

Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari has announced that six airbags in cars will not be mandatory, putting an end to the speculation on the government’s plan to increase the number of compulsory airbags. While speaking at the 63rd annual session of the Automotive Component Manufacturers Association (ACMA), Gadkari said the government is not planning to make it mandatory for car manufacturers to equip cars with six airbags in the wake of the Bharat NCAP car safety assessment programme, which comes into effect early next year.

“Due to the star rating system, all companies have accepted the standard. So, there’s no need to go forward with the regulation,” Gadkari said. “Now people are cautious and whatever economic model has six [air]bags, people will prefer to take that car. People can decide,” he added.

The announcement comes at a time when there was confusion about the number of mandatory airbags in cars. Last year, the roadways ministry proposed mandating six airbags in all passenger vehicles with a seating capacity of up to eight passengers in a draft notification. It was originally slated to come into effect on October 1 last year, but the industry asked for more time. The industry cited higher costs and limited availability of semiconductors required to implement six airbags as the reason for an extended deadline. The government, thus, changed the deadline to October 1 this year.

But even though the industry was able to buy more time, there were uncertainties. Since it was a proposal, carmakers did not have a proper guideline on whether to design their cars accordingly. Still, several brands started implementing the proposed change to avoid any clampdown later in the event the proposal progressed into a ruling.

According to Gadkari, cars that would not come with six airbags may miss out on better ratings as part of the BNCAP car assessment. It will be at the passenger’s discretion whether or not to go for those cars. Launched last month, Bharat NCAP will put a car under a rigorous safety test wherein it will be driven at 64kmph into a deformable barrier at 40 percent overlap. The evaluation includes an offset deformable barrier frontal impact test, a side impact test, and a pole-side impact test. A rating will then be provided to the car for adult and child occupancy.

Author Name | Shubham Verma


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