India’s Union Minister of Road Transport and Highways, Nitin Gadkari, has launched the New Car Assessment Program (Bharat NCAP) on August 22. The program is designed to improve road safety and raise safety standards for motor vehicles up to 3.5 tonnes in India.
Key Points about Bharat NCAP:
- Voluntary Testing: Car manufacturers can voluntarily have their vehicles tested as per the Automotive Industry Standard (AIS) 197 under Bharat NCAP.
- Star Ratings: Vehicles will be awarded star ratings for both Adult Occupants (AOP) and Child Occupants (COP) based on their performance in the crash tests.
- Comparative Assessment: The program aims to provide potential car customers with a tool to make a comparative assessment of the crash safety of different vehicles available in the market.
- Encouraging Safer Cars: It is expected that the demand for safer cars will increase as customers refer to these star ratings to make informed purchase decisions. This could encourage car manufacturers to enhance the safety features of their vehicles.
- Global Competitiveness: By raising safety standards, Indian cars can compete better in the global market, potentially boosting the export potential of Indian car manufacturers.
- Road Safety Impact: The program aligns with India’s focus on improving road safety. The government has been investing in infrastructure and road safety initiatives to reduce road accidents and fatalities.
- Road Accident Statistics: According to official data, road accidents led to approximately 1.54 lakh deaths and 3.84 lakh injuries in 2021. In 2020, about 1.31 lakh people lost their lives, and 3.49 lakh were injured in road mishaps.
- Industry Perspective: Auto majors such as Mahindra & Mahindra, Maruti Suzuki, and Toyota have welcomed the Bharat NCAP as a positive step for the domestic industry, terming it a bold move in the right direction.
The launch of New Car Assessment Program reflects India’s commitment to enhancing road safety and vehicle standards, with the aim of reducing road accidents and making vehicles safer for both occupants and pedestrians.