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Government to make safety measures to be made mandatory for automobiles

The ministry of road transport and highways plans to bring out a notification that will make airbags, antilock braking systems (ABS) and speed warning systems standard equipment in all cars from October 2018.

The notification is expected to be issued soon along with a timetable for implementation. According to an official, airbags and ABS will be standard features in all car models being sold in India from October 2018.

It may be recalled that in tests conducted by the Global National Car Assessment Programme (GNCAP), a UK-based independent charity focused on consumer oriented vehicle safety initiatives, Renault Kwid, Hyundai Eon, Maruti Suzuki Celerio and Mahindra Scorpio had all failed crash tests. Automakers had countered this by saying that all cars made in the country adhere to current safety standards as stipulated by the government. Currently, a few auto companies provide airbags and ABS in entry-level models.

According to the government's rough estimate, including these two features could add 10% to the cost of the base model.

A Maruti executive said the company has introduced safety equipment including dual airbags, ABS and electronic brake force distribution across several models. Fitting these equipment could add about Rs15,000 to the cost of a vehicle.

The government also plans to set up the Bharat National Car Assessment Programme to rate safety in vehicles. Bharat NCAP will direct manufacturers to ensure that injuries to pedestrians are minimised, especially when the front of a vehicle hits them.