New Delhi: In an attempt to tighten the noose on car makers in India and stop them from taking advantage of a legal loophole to sell vehicles even though they have not passed a crash test, the road transport ministry has now set October 2017 as the deadline for new model cars to pass minimum frontal and side crash tests besides pedestrian protection test.
According to a recent government notification, the frontal crash tests will be at 56 kmph, while the norm set for side crash tests is 50 kmph. Compliance of these norms will bring Indian cars at par with international test norms that make the vehicles safer for occupants. The notification also mentions that the front and other portions of the new cars sold after the respective cut off dates have to be designed in a manner that pedestrians don’t receive major injury when they are hit by these vehicles.
“We have come out with the standards after holding discussion with the car makers. When they can produce safer cars for export to other countries, why can’t they sell similar standard vehicles for domestic buyers? There can be no compromise on frontal and side crash tests. Some of the companies have already started work on this and we expect a few of them to comply with the norms before the set deadlines,” said a transport ministry official.
He added that there is a grace period of two years for existing models to pass the frontal crash test and one year extra time for side crash test since manufacturers have to change their production line.
The government will also vigorously implement a new standard of “behaviour for vehicle steering during a head-on collision” to reduce fatality and improve occupant safety. This norm also becomes mandatory for all new models from October 2017 and for existing models the deadline is October 2019.
Sources said that though the government is not mandating the use of airbags in cars, vehicle manufacturers would have to fit this safety feature and child restraints in order to pass the crash tests. Hence, indirectly all new cars including the highest selling economic models would get such features.