New Delhi: In a major development, airbags for front-seat passengers will be mandatory for new vehicles starting April 1. Carmakers are required to provide an airbag only for the driver, though officials have been talking about the need to improve safety.
In December last year, the government had sought public comment on a proposal to make airbags mandatory for the front passenger in all cars from this year, in a move that could raise costs for automakers slowly seeing a revival in demand.
The law ministry has accepted this proposal. As of now, only the driver’s seat airbag is mandatory for all cars. However, this leaves the passenger in the front seat completely vulnerable to severe injury or even death in case of accidents as they are not protected by the airbag.
Low-cost inclusions such as speed alert, reverse parking sensors and seat-belt reminders have become standard features in most cars but life-saving airbags are still not mandatory.
“The Centre plans to implement this norm for all new models of cars which are manufactured from April 1, 2021, onwards. While, for already existing units, the date for complying with the new rule is proposed to be June 1, 2021,” the draft proposal had said earlier.
Previously, the government had made having an airbag mandatory for the driver’s seat in all cars. This had come into effect on July 1, 2019.