Can Structural Integrity and Low-Cost Cars Go Hand in Hand?
With popular models from major carmakers failing crash tests, the centre is getting ready to ensure compliance with stricter safety norms in the future. The new rules, part of the Road Transport and Safety Bill, will delineate relevant safety norms and some restrictions that will hopefully see improved road safety in price-conscious India. The government will set up testing facilities in Pune, Chennai and Manesar to get results that are based on local conditions. There are different types of destructive testing that helps decide the ‘crashworthiness’ and level of safety a car can offer. So, while lawmakers are not telling carmakers what should be fitted, the features/ accoutrements must qualify during the crash tests to save occupants. It’s a given that cars without airbags and other necessary safety features will achieve only the lowest safety ratings after tests.
Going back to the NCAP tests, these also showed that Maruti Suzuki Alto 800, Tata Nano and Hyundai i10 had inadequate structural integrity, resulting in damage of varying degrees. Experts said that the extent of structural damage was such that fitting airbags would not make much of a difference In India, a person is killed in a road accident every four minutes — 1.41 lakh in 2014 — yet less than a third of the 2.6 million cars sold each year have airbags in this cost-conscious market.