IRF urges Union Minister Nitin Gadkari to relook on mandatory fitment of six airbags for vehicles
- Generating awareness and educating is necessary as the practice of fastening seat belts in the rear seat is very low
- The maximum number of road casualties in India are of two-wheeler riders
- A two-wheeler is much more unsafe as compared to a car
International Road Federation (IRF), a global road safety body shot off a letter to Union Minister of Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari, urging him to have a relook at the latest General Statutory Rule (GSR) on the mandatory fitment of six airbags for passenger vehicles up to eight seaters.
The Statesman, in its report said that the road safety body urged the minister to focus more on generating awareness on the fastening of rear passenger seat belts before implementing it.
"Generating awareness and educating is necessary as the practice of fastening seat belts in the rear seat is very low even in big cities and metros and near-zero in the mid to smaller cities of India. Worse still, the awareness that if an airbag deploys without a seat belt, it could be injurious or fatal – is very low in India," mentioned KK Kapila, President Emeritus, IRF in his letter to the Union Road Minister.
Kapila said, "The Airbag manufacturers will never tell you because they are interested only in making financial gains and not interested in safety. We need to have awareness, enforcement, and good compliance, on seat belts fastening first and only then come up with the mandate for providing Airbags in all rear seats."
Besides, he also said, "It is to be kept in mind that in the event of a crash if the passenger has not fastened his seat belt, the deployment of the airbag could end up killing the passenger."
Meanwhile, the maximum number of road casualties in India are of two-wheeler riders. Just by virtue of not having an enclosed passenger compartment, a two-wheeler is much more unsafe as compared to a car, added Kapila.
"An Airbag assembly primarily consists of 4 key components – Sensors that assess the impact, Controller unit, Inflator, and Fabric. While airbag manufacturers have local units, most of the child parts are imported, and that too from China. The companies here are just assembling these child parts and have a very low local value addition. The 6-airbag regulation will increase imports from China and fill the pockets of foreign MNCs. This is completely against the national vision of Atma Nirbhar Bharat (Made in India) pronounced loud and clear by the Prime Minister." added Kapila.