Airbags, reverse sensors and high-speed alert compulsory between 2017-18

New amendment to the current Motor Vehicles Act will improve pedestrian and occupant safety

By: | Updated: November 10, 2016 6:17 PM
airbag-technology-main-image New safety technologies will marginally increase the price of most mass market vehicles

The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MORTH) has issued an amendment stating new inclusions to the list of mandatory requirements for new cars. The Ministry announced that all new cars will need to have airbags, reversing sensors, manual override for central locking system and a high-speed alert system. While airbags will be mandatory for cars manufactured on or after 1st October 2017, reverse parking sensors, seat belt reminder, manual override for central locking and high-speed alert will be implemented for cars manufactured on and after 1stApril 2018.

The front airbags increase safety in case of an impact, as on collision they inflate, thereby reducing the injury to the occupants. An audio and visual speed alert will get activated in case the vehicle speed exceeds 80km/h. If the driver exceeds 100 km/h, there will be a constant beep thereon. Reverse parking sensors will also be mandatory and will alert the driver of the surroundings while reversing into or out of a parking spot.

In addition, the cars will need to be equipped with a manual override system, which will allow the occupants to open doors manually in case the central locking system fails. This override mechanism will have no effect on child safety locks that are manually operated and are on a car's rear doors.

These mandatory safety systems will marginally increase the price of the vehicle as they involve an increase in mechanical and electrical components. Although the Ministry hasn't rolled out any official figures, we estimate the cost of these systems to increase the vehicle cost anywhere between 8 percent and 12 percent. This increase however will be across all vehicles, which aren't equipped with these technologies already, mostly including entry-level hatchbacks. Premium cars already come with features such as airbags and reversing sensors/ cameras. Adding the speed alert and manual override functionality will mostly involve writing new lines of code onto the vehicle ECUs. Hence the increase in cost of such vehicles could be anywhere between none to minimal.