As per the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways notification, it is now mandatory for new car models to have dual airbags installed in the dashboard to ensure greater safety of front row passengers. The new car models need to adhere to this regulation from April 1, 2021. The Centre has allowed time to car makers till August 31, 2021, to install dual airbags in older models.
This safety move is likely to increase the car prices in the range of Rs 5,000 to Rs 7,000 on an average. Right now, only driver's seat airbag was mandatory in cars. As a result, the passenger sitting on the front seat was completely vulnerable to major accidents. Only since July 2019, single front airbag for the driver's seat were made mandatory. Centre has now made it mandatory for new cars to have an airbag for the front passenger side as well.
"It has been mandated that the vehicles manufactured on and after April 1, 2021, in the case of new models, and August 31, 2021, in the case of existing models, shall be fitted with airbag for the person occupying the front seat, other than the driver," says the notification.
The mandate is released after considering the suggestions of Supreme Court Committee on Road Safety.
Airbags inflate instantly upon collision and then gradually deflate. It helps in cushioning the collission impact to passengers. Deployment of airbags can increase the chances of survival during major road accidents.
Right now life-saving airbags are not mandatory. However, low-cost inclusions including speed alerts, reverse parking sensors, and seat-belt reminders have become standard features in all cars.