The Indian officials aim to introduce mandatory crash tests for vehicles as soon as the necessary facilities are completed – with policy makers seeking a reduction of the high death rate on the country’s roads.
According to Pon Radhakrishnan, India’s junior road transport minister, who spoke in front of the upper house of parliament in New Delhi yesterday, the government plans to mandate offset frontal and side impact crash tests – while airbags would need to meet new regulations. The measures are directed towards reducing the death count, with India’s roads – the deadliest in the world – claiming one life every five minutes. According to the World Bank, India’s transport infrastructure has just 15 of the global tally of cars, but claims 15 % of all traffic fatalities. A draft of the ministry’s proposed Road Transport and Safety Bill 2014, improving the safety standards on India’s highways would equal to a 4% improvement in the economic output.
The draft, that was introduced back in September, proposes new and more stricter penalties for traffic violations, a centralized licensing authority, and a dedicated road safety authority that follows in the footsteps of the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Today, cars in India are not required by law to undergo crash tests or even be equipped with airbags.