India proposes mandatory side, curtain airbags in all cars from October

NEW DELHI: India, which has among the world's deadliest roads, on Saturday (Jan 15) proposed mandating at least six airbags in all passenger cars manufactured from Oct 1.

The government wants automakers to provide two side airbags and two curtain airbags, to protect those seated in the rear seats, in addition to the already required two airbags for all vehicles.

The side airbags are to "help mitigate primarily torso injury" during a side crash, while the curtain airbags would "deploy in a side-impact crash or roll-over to help mitigate primarily head injury", the ministry of road transport said in a notification.

The draft rules are designed to bring down the fatalities on Indian roads. In 2020, nearly 132,000 people died in more than 366,000 road accidents, according to government data.

The additional airbags would increase the cost of vehicles in India's price-sensitive market, where most cars sell for less US$10,000. The low-cost car market is dominated by Maruti Suzuki, majority-owned by Japan's Suzuki Motor, and Hyundai Motor.

The government is inviting comments from companies and the public over the next 30 days, after which the draft rules will be finalised.

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