In 2016, many large and small Indian cars failed basic safety tests. Many international vehicle safety assessors even gave zero star ratings to some of the most popular Indian cars.
The Indian government plans to improve the safety performance of cars by implementing the Bharat New Vehicle Safety Assessment Program from October. The program aims to set vehicle crashworthiness standards and promote vehicle testing infrastructure development. Also, the program makes it essential for automobile manufacturers to build cars that must pass 5 distinct tests.
1) Front Offset Crash
The primary objective of this safety test is to check the structural integrity of the car’s framework and assess its impact on passengers. While performing the safety test, the testers will drive the car at a speed of 64 kilometres per hour, and evaluate its chassis based on real world conditions. The vehicles must have front airbags to pass the front offset crash test.
2) Side Impact Test
The safety test is conducted to assess the integrity of a car’s b-pillars in case a person jumps traffic signal unexpectedly. Also, the test checks if the driver sustains head injuries in such circumstances. While performing the test, the testers will drive the car at a speed of 50 kilometres per hour and use a car like a barrier. A vehicle must include side and curtain airbags to pass side impact testing.
3) Rear Impact Test
This safety test evaluates the car’s head and seat restraint systems when it is being hit from behind by another car. The safety norm ensures that the driver does not sustain spine injuries in such circumstances. The testers perform rear impact testing by hitting a stationary car from behind with a car running at a speed of 32 kilometres per hour.
4) Pedestrian Protection
While driving a car, the driver has to focus on the safety of both the passengers and pedestrians. The pedestrian protecting test is performed to check if the car keeps the pedestrians and other road users safe. While performing pedestrian protection test, the testers have to assess the vehicle’s bumper, bonnet, and windshield after making the car hit a stationary dummy while being in motion.
5) Child Protection
At present, most Indian cars use seats, seat belts, and airbags designed for adult occupants. Hence, these components may keep a child safe in the event of a crash or collision. The child protection tests require vehicles to include seats, seat belts, and airbags designed specifically for the child occupants. The testers will conduct the child protection test by placing a dummy just like a child in the car.
In addition to passing these safety tests, a car also needs to include safety equipment like speed warning indicator, seatbelt reminder, and Electronic Stability Control to receive extra stars. That is why; many manufacturers believe that the new car assessment program will make Indian cars more expensive. However, major Indian carmakers like Maruti Suzuki have already adopted the safety norms. They have also set up robust vehicle testing centres to ensure that their cars pass all these safety tests.