India proposes six air bags for all passenger cars from next month

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India proposes six air bags for all passenger cars from next month

NEW DELHI Reuters -- India, which has one of the world's deadliest roads, on Saturday proposed mandating six air bags in all passenger cars manufactured from Oct. 1.

The government wants automakers to provide two side air bags and two curtain air bags to protect those sitting in the rear seats, in addition to the already required two air bags for all vehicles.

The side air bags would help mitigate primarily torso injury during a side crash, while the curtain air bags would deploy in a side impact crash or roll over to help mitigate head injuries, the ministry of road transport said in a notification.

The rules are designed to reduce the fatalities on Indian roads. In 2020, nearly 132,000 people died in more than 366,000 road accidents, according to government data.

The additional air bags would increase the cost of vehicles in India's price sensitive market, where most cars sell for less than $10,000. The low-cost car market is dominated by Maruti Suzuki, majority owned by Japan's Suzuki Motor and Hyundai Motor.

The draft rules will be finalised after the government invites comments from companies and the public over the next 30 days.