Safety in India

Ammar Master, Senior Manager, Asia Pacific Vehicle Forecasts

19 February 2019

Car safety in India

Mandating vehicle safety in India

In a country with one of the world’s worst road-safety records, the Indian government is having to make safety mandatory as so many buyers are refusing to pay for optional safety features.

“We are offering safety features in our vehicles as options, but buyers are not paying for it”, Jagdish Khattar, then managing director of Maruti-Suzuki, said some years ago.

By April 2019, buyers of existing (read older) models will have no choice but to pay for anti-lock braking systems (ABS).

By July, they will have to shell out extra funds for the following features, all of which will be made compulsory by new regulations:

    • Airbags
    • Seat-belt reminders
    • Reverse parking sensors
    • Alert systems for speeds over 80 km/hr
    • Manual override over the central locking system for emergencies


We have already seen a number of more stringent norms being enforced over the last two years, but more are yet to come.

In October this year, for instance, stricter crash tests for all vehicles will come into play. Under India’s ‘Bharat New Car Assessment Program’ (Bharat NCAP), vehicles will have to pass three separate tests:

    • A 48 km/hr full-frontal crash test
    • A 50 km/hr side-impact crash test
    • A 56 km/hr front-offset impact test


The government is also planning to make electronic stability control (ESC) and autonomous emergency braking (AEB) compulsory by 2022-2023.

“By 2022, most of our vehicle safety will be at par with global standards and some safety features may surpass the United States’ safety standards even”, claimed Abhay Damle, India’s Joint Secretary of the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways in September 2018.

Ultimately, the aim of these stricter regulations is to help cut the number of traffic-related fatalities in India, which average more than 100,000 a year.