The Union government is likely to miss the October 1 deadline to implement the six-airbag rule in cars, sources said. Earlier, Transport minister Nitin Gadkari had said that the Centre was trying to make it mandatory for carmakers to provide six airbags in all cars for enhanced safety of passengers.
"We are still in discussions with the stakeholders and want safer cars on roads as soon as possible" the source said.
In January 2022, the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, in its draft notification, proposed that vehicles of category M1, manufactured after October 1, 2022, shall be fitted with "two side/side torso air bags, one each for the persons occupying front row outboard seating positions, and two side curtain/tube air bags, one each for the persons occupying outboard seating positions, which in total adds up to six airbags per car."
Category M1 vehicles comprise vehicles having no more than eight seats.
An airbag is a vehicle occupant-restraint system which interferes between the driver and the vehicle's dashboard during a collision, thereby preventing serious injuries.
According to National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) data, over 1.55 lakh lives were lost in road crashes across India in 2021 -- an average of 426 daily or 18 every single hour -- which is the highest death figure recorded in any calendar year so far.
"Majority of automobile manufacturers in India are exporting cars with 6 airbags. But in India, because of the economic model and cost, they are hesitating," Nitin Gadkari had said during the annual session of the Automotive Component Manufacturers Association of India.
Road safety came into the limelight once again after business tycoon and former CEO of Tata Sons Cyrus Mistry died in a car crash while on his way to Mumbai on September 4. He was not wearing seatbelts. Cyrus Mistry and Darius's brother Jahangir were sitting in the back seat.