In a bid to improve car safety standards in India, the road transport ministry will raise the speed in its crash tests as better roads increase the likelihood of faster vehicles being involved in accidents.
The ministry has produced a 197-page draft outlining its plan to establish a new safety rating system in its effort to improve on one of the world’s worst car-crash deaths rate. The draft is expected to be completed over the coming weeks.
A government official said that Indian cars are going faster with improved roads and hence they have to be tested at higher speeds in line with international standards.
“Road safety rules in India need to be at par with the world,” the official added on condition of anonymity.
The official also mentioned, “It is essential to increase the crash test speed.”
According to the proposal of the ministry, the speed at which a car undergoes a crash test will be raised to 64 kilometers per hour or 40 miles per hour from 56 kilometers per hour or 35 miles per hour, in line with the global standards.
According to government data, India, which is the fourth largest car market in the world, also has some of the worst roads with more than 1,33,000 people killed in 3,55,000 road accidents in the year 2020.
The ministry has also proposed a star-rating system for the cars based on several tests including crashes from front and sides, in hopes that the new system will encourage carmakers to provide advanced safety features in exchange for a higher rating.
The system is slated to come into effect from April, 2023 and is among the several steps taken by the country to boost road safety. The government has also proposed mandating six airbags in all cars, up from two.
The associate director of light vehicle production forecast at S%P Global Mobility, Gaurav Vangaal said that the new system would make cars safer as companies will have to reinforce their vehicle structure to get a good rating but would also make them more expensive.
Vangaal said, “This will impact affordability putting direct pressure on sales of entry segment models where buyers are more price sensitive.”
It may be noted that about three million cars are sold in India every year.