With the aim of saving lives during accidents, Union Road Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari on Tuesday urged car manufacturers to provide six airbags, including for rear seat passengers, in all variants irrespective of their cost and class.
He also asked the manufacturers to roll out flex-fuel vehicles that can run on both 100 per cent ethanol and gasoline in the next one year.
Currently, only two airbags are mandatory for the driver and the passenger in the front seat in India across all models including the most economical ones.
There is no study in India so far of how many persons in rear seats in cars get killed in road crashes. Airbags reduce the chances that your upper body or head will strike the vehicle’s interior during any crash.
The passengers need to wear seatbelts to avoid an air-bag-related injury as airbags are designed to work with seat belts and not replace them.
India has the mandatory rear seat belt law, though there is hardly any compliance of the same. Sources said the Minister also asked the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM), and CEOs of automobile companies to step up manufacturing of flex-fuel engines to reduce dependence on imported crude oil and to boost the rural economy.
SIAM is an apex national body representing all major vehicle and vehicular engine manufacturers in India. The SIAM has sought time till 2027 to roll out such engines and has also sought a roadmap for alternative fuel availability to push the adoption of such vehicles.
It has also suggested that the government prepare a roadmap with price guarantees for flex fuel, which must be made cheaper to encourage people to shift to such vehicles.
The mileage of ethanol-fuelled vehicles is less than petrol.