The government wants automakers to provide two
side air bags and two curtain air bags, to protect those seated in the rear
seats, in addition to the already required two air bags for all vehicles.
The side air bags are to “help mitigate
primarily torso injury” during a side crash, while the curtain air bags
would “deploy in a side impact crash or roll over to help mitigate
primarily head injury”, the ministry of road transport said in a
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 air bags would increase the
cost of vehicles in India’s price-sensitive market, where most cars sell for
less $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.