Despite the unparalleled growth of the Indian automotive industry, the vehicle usage pattern reveals a rather sorry state of unsustainable growth, as traffic and safety concerns are ignored. For instance, during 2009-2014, population grew at X%, while passenger vehicle sales increased by X%. Motor vehicle population has grown at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of X% between 2009 and 2014, spurred by a rising tide of motorization. Concomitantly, traffic, pollution, and accidents have grown.
According to data collected by the World Health Organization (WHO) for 2015, India registered casualties, which accounts for casualties every hour. Half the fatalities involved are motorcyclists, pedestrians, and cyclists. A heterogeneous traffic mix of high-speed vehicles sharing the road space with vulnerable road users as well as unsafe road infrastructure and vehicles that are in poor condition are seen as the contributing factors. Recently, Government of India proposed to mandate crash test for OEMs. Due to the impending regulations, airbags and ABS are expected to be offered as standard equipment across all vehicle models sold post 2017. This whitepaper looks at impending safety regulations and discusses if the solution proposed can resolve the problems. According to a study conducted by the Indian government in 2010, road transport contributed X% towards the GDP of the country. However, the loss to the Indian economy due to road accidents, injuries, and fatalities stood at X% of the GDP. Moreover, in accident victims in India were in the age group of 25-65 and X out of X fatalities involved pedestrians, bicyclists, and two-wheelers.
According to WHO statistics, India is the highest ranked country when it comes to the number of road traffic deaths. Moreover, despite being the 5th largest car market, India is the only country in the top ten car markets to lack proper safety regulations and testing programs. Road safety in India should be of utmost importance and needs to be addressed sooner rather than later in a well-structured and planned manner. Most Indian cars sold in the market are unsafe. This has been reaffirmed by NCAP’s testing of popular vehicles from popular brands sold in India. Testing agencies such as NCAP had taken base variants of these vehicles and crash tested according to global NCAP norms. The result confirmed what most of the consumers in India have known for long: “Indian cars are unsafe”.
However, addressing passenger safety is easier said than done. Approaching it with a narrow mindset and implementing existing solutions such as strapping half a dozen airbags and ABS to a vehicle is unlikely to serve the purpose.
2. Road Accidents, Injuries, and Fatalities: Trends in India
3. Regulatory Framework
4. Vehicular Safety Standards and Regulations: The Story So Far
5. Are OEMs to be Blamed if Consumers Think They are Good Drivers?
6. To Mandate or Not to Mandate Safety?
7. The BNVSAP Legislation
8. Is Mandating the Right Way towards Safety?
9. Should the Government Reprioritize its Priorities?
10. Legal Disclaimer