Speed­ing alarms will be manda­tory for cars soon

Govt will an­nounce new rules from 2018 to re­duce fa­tal­i­ties

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - HT Navi Mumbai Live - - FRONT PAGE - HT Cor­re­spon­dent let­ters@hin­dus­tan­times.com

A host of safety fea­tures such as speed warn­ing beeps, seat belt alarm and rear sen­sors will be made manda­tory for all pas­sen­ger cars in In­dia from April 2018. The Union road trans­port min­istry de­cided on these fea­tures to re­duce fa­tal car crashes in a coun­try where more than 140,000 peo­ple were killed in road ac­ci­dents in 2015.

Road min­is­ter Nitin Gad­kari ap­proved the pro­pos­als on Thurs­day.

Most devel­oped coun­tries, in­clud­ing the US, UK, and those in the Euro­pean Union, have made these fea­tures manda­tory long ago, said Ab­dul Ma­jeed, part­ner au­to­mo­bile leader, Price Water­house & Co.

“The ad­di­tional fea­tures will in­crease a ve­hi­cle’s cost be­tween Rs20,000 and Rs60,000 de­pend­ing on the model. But the price fac­tor should not mat­ter for the lives that will be saved,” he ex­plained.

Min­istry of­fi­cials dis­missed fears about car prices shoot­ing up be­cause of these mea­sures, say­ing only an in­cre­men­tal in­crease can be ex­pected.

Man­u­fac­tur­ers pro­vide most of these fea­tures in mid- and high-end cars, while cheaper mod­els — which are more pop­u­lar and have a larger sales vol­ume — come with­out these accessories. Buy­ers can get them retro­fit­ted, but that’s rarely done since there is no rule now bar­ring peo­ple from driv­ing cars with­out, say, speed warn­ing beeps.

The pro­posed speed alert will start beep­ing for a few sec­onds when a car hits 60kmph, start again at 80kmph, and turn into con­tin­u­ous se­ries of fran­tic beeps when the speed ex­ceeds 90kmph. The gov­ern­ment feels the alarm sys­tem will help cut the num­ber of fa­tal­i­ties from peo­ple driv­ing above the speed limit. Last year, 64,633 deaths from speed­ing-re­lated ac­ci­dents were recorded.

“Man­u­fac­tur­ers will have to put these fea­tures in all new cars, while old ve­hi­cles will have to get them retro­fit­ted,” a min­istry of­fi­cial said.

The driver can’t de­ac­ti­vate the beep, and it will go off when the speed is re­duced.

The So­ci­ety of In­dian Au­to­mo­bile Man­u­fac­tur­ers (SIAM) praised the pro­posed mea­sures, but cau­tioned that these fea­tures will help only if en­force­ment is strength­ened along­side.

“Over-speed­ing is an en­force­ment is­sue. The min­istry is look­ing at tech­ni­cal so­lu­tion to an en­force­ment is­sue. Un­less that hap­pens, hav­ing these fea­tures will not help,” said KK Gandhi, ex­ec­u­tive direc­tor, SIAM.

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