The Ministry of Road Transport & Highways (MoRTH) has released a notification, which makes ABS mandatory for all cars to be sold from April 2019. This deadline is applicable for all new cars, however, carmakers are supposed to offer ABS as standard offering on all models launched after 2018. In simpler words, carmakers will have a year from April 2018, to convert their non ABS models to ABS ones, while any new launches after April, 2018 will go on sale only if fitted with ABS as standard and not optional equipment.
The move comes after a long dialogue over the last few years between various stakeholders in wake of India’s increasing road fatalities. In a cost-sensistive market such as India, lack of awareness about safety among consumers and cut-throat competition among carmakers to offer a lower price-tag meant that a large number of cars were not offered with ABS as standard till a few years back. While some companies have made ABS standard across their portfolio, a few others in the entry-level segment still haven’t.
Unfortunately, India reports the largest number of deaths in traffic accidents across the world. ABS will play a crucial role in enhancing the safety as the system ensures that even under hard braking, none of the wheels get locked. This gives the driver better control over the vehicle as s/he can steer the vehicle around an object and avoid impact. ABS also reduces braking distance significantly, both in dry and wet conditions.
In absence of ABS, a vehicle’s wheels are prone to getting locked up under panic braking. With the wheels locked, the driver has little or no control over the vehicle and steering inputs can result in the vehicle skidding or rolling over as well in some conditions. ABS takes care of this problem by applying and releasing the brakes multiple times within a second, leading to more effective braking without wheel lock-ups.
Another safety feature that has already been made mandatory, effective October 2017, is the airbags. All cars sold after the mentioned date will need to be equipped with dual-front airbags as standard. With both these technologies becoming standard, road safety should get a considerable improvement as ABS can help avoid an accident and airbags can save lives in case of a mishap.
What will these systems cost you?
The mandatory installation of these safety systems is a big step in the right direction and just like most good things, it’ll come at a small price. Both these technologies need sensors and ECUs in addition to the hardware, meaning they won’t come at a negligible cost. ABS alone can push an average hatchback’s price between Rs 10,000 to Rs 15,000. Airbags can cost anywhere between Rs 30,000 to Rs 50,000. Since all companies will have to offer it in some time, it would mean greater volumes for the suppliers and hence lower prices due to economies of scale. In the end, an average hatchback could cost between Rs 25,000 to Rs 40,000 after both these technologies become mandatory.