The abysmal results of the crash tests held by NCAP earlier this year have finally brought to light the shortcomings of India manufactured cars when it comes to handling road crashes. Even Europe or North America-based carmakers who claim their vehicles to be crash tested and safe, are known to omit many safety features for the India models, in the interest of cost-cutting. So now, if reports are to be believed, the government is looking to make life saving features like ABS and airbags compulsory for all cars. Also, new vehicles will now have to undergo the regulatory crash test to obtain clearance. NCAP (New Car Assessment Programme) will be the body responsible for ensuring these norms are met by all automobile manufacturers.
Crash test facilities will be set up in Manesar and Pune. The compulsory tests will include the frontal crash test in which vehicles are driven at speeds close to 60kmph and then subjected to a crash. There will also be a provision for rating cars according to their crash test results. Much like the GEE’s energy consumption ratings for new electronic appliances, the NCAP will rate vehicles on a scale of 1 to 5, based on their safety aspects.
Automobile manufacturers have been given time until 2017 to begin implementing these crash safety norms at their end. These regulations also demand structural modifications in vehicle chassis’ and mandatory inclusion of safety features like ABS, ESP and airbags. These additions are bound to make the average automobile dearer in this market. But better sense dictates that safety comes above every other priority, even budget cuts.