In an effort to increase the safety of occupants in a passenger vehicle, the Safe Cars for India campaign was initiated by Global NCAP to test Indian models provided by various manufacturers in the country. In a recent crash test conducted by Global NCAP, French automaker's Renault's Duster was tested in its base version without airbags which has surprisingly scored zero stars. According to the Global NCAP report, the manufacturer requested for another test which had the optional driver airbag in the base variant.
According to a statement by Renault India, "“Safety is of paramount importance for Renault and all our products meet and exceed the requisite safety standards set by Indian Regulatory Authorities. India is gradually moving towards international safety norms by including more robust safety regulations and the assurance of the Bharat NCAP is a positive step in this direction. As a customer-focused company, Renault fully supports this initiative and we are already future-ready in terms of technology, design and engineering for enhanced safety for all our vehicles. Indian Government has announced that the crash test regulation for the existing cars will come into effect in 2019 and for the new cars in 2017. Renault fully supports this."
This model, however, scored three stars but, when compared to the Latin American model, which scored four stars in the Latin NCAP, the number was still not up to the mark of the international model sold. The reason for this was the size of the airbag which is larger and covers the entire head and chest in the Latin American model. The Indian model, however, had lower rating due to the smaller airbag size which failed to protect the entire head. Child occupant safety rating for both the variants tested remained the same at two stars.
David Ward, Secretary General of Global NCAP said, “It is troubling that during the UN Road Safety Week we yet again encounter a zero star car in our crash testing in India. Renault produces the Duster in a number of markets and yet it seems content to provide a version for India which falls so far short of safety. The version of the Duster with an airbag scores three stars, but this too fell short as it was fitted with a smaller airbag. A model with a correctly sized airbag should be provided as standard.”
The rising concern for safety has triggered not just a number of manufacturers but also the Government to take necessary steps in order to inculcate safe driving and riding methods. Various safety programmes including the National Road Safety Week which was held from 9th to 15th January, 2017 in association with SIAM-SAFE and Ministry of Road Transport and Highway (MoRTH) also witnessed Renault India participating in the programme. The objective of such road safety campaigns increases the awareness amongst commuters and while the evolution of automobiles in the country is taking place fast, safety concerns have a longer road to cover.