About two years still left for the new norms to come into place but the government has its plan of action ready. Passing minimum frontal and side crash tests will be mandatory for all new cars from October 2017 while for new vehicles of existing models the deadline will be October 2019.
Minister of state for Road Transport and Highways, Pon Radhakrishnan, had announced in the Rajya Sabha recently that India would soon unveil crash test norms for passenger vehicles. He added that these would help align Indian safety regulations in line with global standards.
According to the Times of India, the revised timelines were finalised a few weeks back at a high level meeting. While the frontal crash tests will be at 56kmph, the norms set for side crash tests will be 50kmph.
Road transport minister Nitin Gadkari had on Tuesday said that every car, even small and cheaper models, should have minimum safety features. But these have not been made mandatory. On receiving responses like addition of these safety features will make the product expensive, the minister said that there “will be no compromise with regards to safety”.
Facilities to conduct these tests are also being built in the country and should be ready by 2015 and in certain instances new products may also be tested outside India. For this an administrative body under the ministry will buy select vehicles and pay for the test.
The ministry will also notify the Bharat New Vehicle Safety Assessment Programme (BNVSAP) on the lines on New Car Assessment Programme (NCAP) in other countries. Under this programme, car manufacturers can go for star rating based on the cars having better safety features. They can apply for such ratings as is the practice in developed countries.
2017 is just two years from now, setting up a foundation for these safety norms is a good start. The new cars that are being made will need to come to terms with the new rules and then by 2019 even the existing cars will have to comply with the regulations. It is quite a long drawn out process and before we know it 2017 will be upon us.
Though this is bound to make cars expensive in the long run it also gives passengers a tiny amount of assurance in case of severe accidents and the number of road deaths per year may finally come down.