In a move towards making cars safer, the Union Road Transport Ministry has approved a timeline for implementing a new set of rules. All cars manufactured after 1st July 2019 will have to be equipped with airbags, seat-belt reminders, alert systems for speed beyond 80 kph, reverse parking sensors and manual override over the central locking system for emergencies. The move comes after considering that thousands of people lose their lives in road accidents in India every year. A large number of these fatalities happen since most cars in the country are not equipped with safety features. While most luxury cars come fitted with such safety equipment by default, economically priced cars have them as optional extras, which most people in India tend to ignore.
The speed alarm will activate once the car crosses 80 kph. It'll grow sharper when the speed exceeds 100 kph and will be constant after 120 kph. The manual override for the central locking system will allow a door to be opened in case of an electric system failure, as passengers have been reported trapped in the cars in several instances.
The Transport Ministry has also said that airbags and parking sensors will also be made mandatory in light commercial vehicles, primarily those that run in urban areas.
In a Twitter poll conducted by Ford India, it was found that 70% of the 22,000 respondents did not consider safety features before buying a car. It is even more surprising because most of the car buyers aren't even on Twitter, hence the scale of the problem is bigger.
It is quite incredible to know that the government has to intervene in such matters. People in India have to be told to wear seat belts, not to drive on the wrong side of the road, not to check their Facebook feed while in traffic. Shouldn't these habits be corrected out of a feeling of sheer self-preservation? Why do some drivers deliberately jeopardise their lives and those of the others, we'll never know. But there is certainly an urgent need for people to be educated on the right ways using a public road.
(Image for representational purposes only)