How India Plans to Grade Cars on Safety

Bharat NCAP (New Car Assessment Program) to be introduced in April 2023

Vehicles in India will soon be given star ratings based on their performance in crash tests.

Union Minister for Road, Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari approved the draft notification to introduce the Bharat NCAP (New Car Assessment Program). As per a notification issued by the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH), this will be applicable from 1 April 2023.

Gadkari put out a series of tweets on the new programme.

He said, “Bharat-NCAP will serve as a consumer-centric platform allowing customers to opt for safer cars based upon their star ratings while promoting a healthy competition among OEMs in India to manufacture safer vehicles. The testing protocol of Bharat NCAP shall be aligned with Global Crash Test Protocols factoring in the existing Indian regulations, allowing OEMs to get their vehicles tested at India’s in-house testing facilities.”

What is Bharat NCAP?

1. Bharat NCAP rating will provide consumers with an indication of the level of protection offered to occupants by evaluating the vehicle in the areas of (a) Adult Occupant Protection (AOP) (b) Child Occupant Protection (COP) and (c) Safety Assist Technologies (SAT).
2. It is applicable on Type Approved motor vehicles of category M1 [motor vehicles used for the carriage of passengers, comprising not more than eight seats, in addition to driver’s seat] with gross vehicle weight less than 3.5 tonnes, manufactured or imported in the country.
3. The vehicle shall be assigned a star rating from one to five stars, based on scoring against various tests undertaken as per AIS 197.
4. It introduces the concept of the safety rating of passenger cars and empowers consumers to make informed decisions.
5. So far, only the Global NCAP ratings were available for cars in India.

Why is a safety rating needed in India?

As per a report in Finshots, there are 53 road crashes in India every hour and one person dies every four minutes. While the country has just 1 per cent of the world’s vehicles, it contributes to 11 per cent of global deaths due to road accidents. The report says that this leads to a 3% GDP loss at Rs 5.96 lakh crores.

As per a National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) report, 1,33,201 people died due to road accidents in India in 2020.

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In a written reply in the Rajya Sabha in April 2022, Gadkari said that India ranks first in the world in terms of the number of persons killed and third in terms of people injured in road accidents.

Is Bharat NCAP going to be mandatory?

However, there is no clarity yet on whether this rating will be mandatory. Some carmakers, like Maruti Suzuki, have already said that they will opt for it only if the customers want it.

Business Standard reported that Maruti Suzuki Chairman RC Bhargava said that they will charge the customers who want the rating. He also said that it should not be mandatory.

“We can’t follow European standards of safety in all our vehicles in India because we can’t apply that to 2-wheelers. Are we going to leave the 2-wheeler owners out of the safety ambit and apply it to only rich people? Surely, we should look at what can be done to provide better transport for the people who use 2-wheelers,” he added.

Sources

‘Are Indian cars getting a safety makeover?’ Published on 28 June 2022 Courtesy Finshots

‘Will go for Bharat NCAP ‘star rating’ only if customer wants it: Maruti’ by Shally Seth Mohile for Business Standard, Published on 26 June 2022

Edited by Yoshita Rao

Author: Aaron Ryan