Can Struc­tural In­tegrity and Low-Cost Cars Go Hand in Hand?

Consumer Voice - - Feature -

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.

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