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Just like Bharat Stage vehicle emission norms, India is in a dire need for a standardised car crash test safety equation like BNVSAP. Car accidents are a thing that can happen to anyone. They don’t differentiate between the rich and poor, the veteran driver or the novice. They just occur. All of us are confident in our driving skills but are we equally confident in the driving skill of our fellow drivers?
However, the thing you should be confident in is supposed to be your vehicle ensuring nothing happens to you and your family if an accident occurs. But according to the Global NCAP, we can’t do that because most of the best sold Indian vehicles have failed the test miserably. Indian Government decided to implement their own safety system called the Bharat New Vehicle Safety Assessment Program (BNVSAP).
What is the Bharat New Vehicle Safety Assessment Program and why do we need it?
The BNVSAP will be a mandatory assessment program system when it launches and will rate new cars with stars according to how they fare against crash tests conducted by the Heavy Industries Ministries Of India and funded by the government of India. It will perform various tests and put up lists of safety features that will be mandatory to be present in new cars if they hope to be approved for manufacture and sale.
As for why this is needed it’s obvious. Why shouldn’t the Indian cars be on the same safety standards as cars of other countries? These measures will ensure the companies make drastic changes to the new cars they manufacture so they are overall safer for everyone.
What is the current car safety standards in India?
Current safety standards in India leave much to be desired however they are steadily getting better. ABS and Airbags were not mandatory at a point but now they come as a standard safety kit in almost all of the new cars.
Recent road safety developments in India
The most recent change to make Indian roads safer was the Motor Vehicle (Amendment) Act 2019 was a change in the correct direction. The act saw an exponential rise in fines and an even greater rise in the fines of repeated offenders. Earlier the meagre fines were usually not cared mostly by the two-wheeler drivers blatantly ignoring rules and regulations put in place to protect them just because it was a minor inconvenience.
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After the act, however, everything changed. Seeing such a steep rise in fines for earlier thought to be minor inconveniences people started following rules they should be following in the first place. The outcry against the act was useless as it didn’t change any earlier rule only the fine one has to pay to for breaking them. Some state governments, however, decided that the act was a bit too much and either reverted the act to earlier fines or toned them down a bit.
What are the global new car assessment programs (NCAP)?
The global NCAP system profiles new cars that launch in respective showrooms. They usually focus on the integrity of a chassis from sides and front and how will the crumple zone help the occupants be it, adult or kids.
There are also some Local new car assessment programs which are as follows:
The Latin new car assessment program as the name suggests is a new car assessment program employed by the countries in Latin America and the Carribean. Set up in 2014 they rate from 0 to 5 stars the safety of a vehicle for an adult and kids alike.
The new car safety assessment program for Southeast Asia is another example of an Automotive Safety Assessment employed to ensure the new cars are up to safety standards. Signed on 7th December 2011 in New Delhi the ASEAN NCAP uses a percentage-based system to evaluate new cars.
As the name suggests the country of China has a version of its own NCAP which is derived directly from the Euro NCAP and is run by China Automotive Technology and Research Center. They use a star-based system.
Talking about China using the same regulations as Euro NCAP, let’s talk about it. Using a star-based system they mark a new car depending on its performance in a variety of crash tests, including front, side and pole impacts, and impacts with pedestrians. The top overall rating is five stars. Regulations need a 64 km/h impact.
What are the regulations for BNVSAP?
The Bharat New Vehicle Safety Assessment Program or BNVSAP employs a star system to rate the safety of a vehicle. It will have the tests in Four phases in testing labs. The new cars that will roll out will have to go through a frontal impact, rear impact and side-impact tests at 56 km/hr and also pedestrian safety tests.
The program itself will also launch in phases with the first being mandatory ABS and Airbags system both of which are now being provided in new cars as a safety kit and already included in two-wheelers.
The car manufacturers will be asked to show the test results of new cars so that consumers are aware of the safety features and make an informed decision.
What is the difference between BNVSAP vs Global NCAP?
The major difference visible in the two safety systems is the speed at which the tests are performed. The maximum speed at which a new car should perform according to set standards by the respective agencies is 56 km/hr while the global NCAP requires the new car to function at required standards at 64 km/hr. This means that a car that can pass the Bharat New Vehicle Safety Assessment Program (BNVSAP) can fail in the Global New Car Assessment program.
Road and car safety: The need of the hour
In 2017 a total of 4,64,910 accidents happened claiming 1,47,913 lives and leaving 4,70,975 injured in the wake.
It didn’t change a lot in 2018 with 4,67,044 accidents and causing the deaths of 1.5 lakh humans and 4,69,418 injured.
Such a high amount of deaths due to accidents needed some drastic changes which came with the implementing of the Motor Vehicle (Amendment) Act 2019 which was tarried for over two decades. This act paired with Bharat New Vehicle Safety Assessment Program will be a huge step to ensure people don’t die a pointless death. And if accidents do happen the cars that they drive will be made in such a way due to the BNVSAP that the occupants will survive with minor injuries.
What is the #Safercarsforindia campaign?
Social media is a powerful tool that can be used to harm or help a cause. In this case, it was to help the people of India to get safer cars. The #safercarsforindia was started by Global NCAP as a way to spread awareness about the low safety standards in Indian cars and to make the government act on any new cars that might be manufactured. After gaining a bit of traction major groups started picking up the hashtag to give news about the various car manufacturers that failed Global NCAP and letting more people know as to which Indian car to select.
Indian cars safety standard | According to Global NCAP in 2019
The #safercarsforindia tag was used by Global NCAP to tweet out the results for the crash test done on Indian car manufacturers. This allowed a lot of people to figure out which cars were scoring good and which were bad because Global NCAP had no obligation to hide any results or be biased towards anything. After a series of Tests on various new cars, India’s safest car was declared according to the Global NCAP.
The safest Indian car according to Global NCAP standards
Nexon. It was Tata Nexon. Scoring a 5 star on the Global NCAP overall crash test system it was the only new Indian car at that time that was able to score a full bar. It was only for Driver safety though as they only scored a 3 star in passenger and child safety which was still the highest other cars was able to score anyways. While we are on the topic of safe cars the least safe car which should be no surprise to anyone was Tata Nano.
What can we do to ensure our road safety in India?
It’s true the Government needs to take action to ensure our road safety but so do we. Following the basic road etiquette can go a long way.
Some people seem to think that yellow light in the traffic system (where it works) means acceleration instead of slowing down which by the tone of this sentence you must have figured out is completely opposite of it.
Not wearing a helmet while on a 2 wheeler because the hair might get ruined. Trust me it’s better to keep them in a helmet than having to pick out bugs and leaves from it later. Also if you get ahead injury because of not wearing a helmet while in an accident it will leave you bald anyways as they shave the head off for surgery so it’s a lose-lose scenario in both cases.
Pedestrians are no angels either. The longest time I’ve seen a green light on an intersection is 120 seconds (2 minutes it just appears big because it’s in seconds). Just Wait. Running through a green light is as scary for the driver as it’s exciting and daring for you.
India is inching towards a safer road environment for drivers, occupants, and pedestrians. With the introduction of strict new car testing norms and increased fines for breaking rules, it might turn out to help in the long run and make the road safe. All we can do is to do everything in our power to ensure we and our fellow humans are safe and to not let the trend for BNVSAP slow down and be forgotten to the sands of time.2