Automatic door-locks or speed sensing door locks are often touted as a 'feature' in modern-day cars. What this technology does is automatically locks the car's doors, either when the car reaches a certain speed, or after a set interval of time, post the ignition is turned on. Though this technology may come across as a creature comfort as it negates the need for manually locking the doors, it could, in certain cases, compromise the safety of the vehicle's occupants.
In case of an accident, this system might lock the doors of the vehicle, preventing its occupants from safely exiting it. Global NCAP, which evaluates a vehicle's safety rating based on a number of different parameters, awards its 5-star rating (highest) to those vehicles which do not have automatic door-locks as a feature. Tata Motors, in a recent update to its compact hatchback Tiago, removed the said feature in sync with the GNCAP's regulations for the same to score the top-star rating. The homegrown automaker's sub-compact SUV, Nexon had recently scored the coveted 5-star rating in GNCAP's crash test.
Some cars, mostly high-end luxury models, the system which automatically locks the doors, also unlocks it in case of an accident with the help of sensors. However, this feature is yet to make its way to cars that are offered in the budget segment, especially in India.
Under the new regulations which are part of the Bharat New Vehicle Safety Assesment Program (BNVSAP), all cars in India, sold post-October 2019, must adhere to a set safety standard. These include the mandatory fitment of the driver side airbag, ABS, rear parking sensors, driver and passenger seat belt warning along with high-speed alert system as standard across the vehicle's range. By 2023, even more, stringent regulations pertaining to vehicle safety are likely to be implemented in India.