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Understanding the imperativeness of 6 mandatory airbags in Indian cars

In a major move aimed at minimizing the impact of frontal and lateral collisions in a car, the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways has approved a draft notification, making it compulsory for the car manufacturers to equip a minimum of six airbags in motor vehicles that can carry up to 8 passengers.

In a series of tweets, the Union Minister of Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari wrote his ministry had already mandated the implementation of the fitment of the driver airbag with effect from July 1, 2019, and front co-passenger airbag with effect from January 1, 2022.

“In order to enhance the safety of the occupants in motor vehicles carrying up to 8 passengers, I have now approved a Draft GSR Notification to make a minimum of 6 Airbags compulsory,” the Union Minister said.

The General Statutory Rules (GSR) have been mandated to the motor vehicles of category M1 (motor vehicles used for the carriage of passengers, comprising not more than eight seats, in addition to the driver’s seat), with the effective timeline of cars manufactured after 1st October 2022.

Recently, dual airbags (driver and passenger) became mandatory on all motor vehicles (M1 category) from 1st January 2022. Earlier, a driver airbag was mandated for all passenger vehicles since July 1, 2019.

An airbag is a vehicle occupant-restraint system that creates a safety layer ( a bag of air) between the driver and the vehicle’s dashboard during a collision, averting fatal injuries.

What is M1 category ?

The draft notification for compulsory additional airbags in the ‘M1’ vehicle category aims at reducing the impact of “frontal and lateral collisions” to the person sitting at the front (Driver) and rear compartments.

According to the notification, airbags will be made compulsory for two side or side torso airbags, and two side-curtain or tube airbags, covering all outboard passengers in M1 category vehicle.

“Side/side torso airbag” means any inflatable occupant restraint device that is mounted to the seats or side structure of the vehicle interior, that is designed to protect the passengers in the side collision to help mitigate primarily torso injury.

“Side curtain/tube airbag” means any inflatable occupant restraint device that is mounted to the side structure of the vehicle interior, and that is designed to protect in a side-impact crash or rollover to help mitigate primarily head injury.

As per the government’s homologation rules, moto vehicles are placed into broad categories. ‘Category M’ covers motor vehicles with at least four wheels, used for carrying passengers. The sub-category ‘M1’ is used for the carriage of passengers, comprising not more than eight seats in addition to the driver’s seat.

Notably, this M1 category effectively subsumes the major chunk of the Indian passenger vehicles on roads — starting with entry-level hatchbacks to multi-utility SUVs.

Read the full draft notification issued by the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways:

Click here

https://static.pib.gov.in/WriteReadData/specificdocs/documents/2022/jan/doc20221154901.pdf
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