The new Road Transport and Safety Bill makes it mandatory for companies to issue a recall if 100 complaints for a defect are received. It also states new vehicle safety norms.

2014 Vehicle Recall List India
Major automobile companies have opposed the new recall clause

The newly-proposed Road Transport and Safety Bill contains a lot of important clauses. First up, the state transport authority has made it mandatory for automobile companies to issue an official recall if a certain number of complaints are made for a particular vehicle. Apart from this clause, another important notification states that passenger safety is set to get a whole new priority by the transport authority and it will derive new regulations and make safety features mandatory in vehicles.

The draft says that if a vehicle receives 100 complaints for a specific defect in a vehicle and if the defect has chances of affecting the passengers’ or pedestrians’ safety then the respective automobile company would have to declare an official recall. This hasn’t gone down well with companies and they have said that they still want to go ahead with voluntary recall. The state transport authority can also issue a recall of a vehicle if it finds out that the vehicle does not comply with the provisions stated by the transport department. Apart from this, according to this draft, manufacturers might have to compensate a customer with the full value of the vehicle or repair it or replace it with a new vehicle having similar or better specifications.

The second important clause talks about passengers’ safety. Currently we know how manufacturers are lax in providing safety features like ABS and airbags in many entry-level cars. So the Bharat New Vehicle Safety Assessment Program is set to roll out next year and this program will comprise of testing a vehicle’s front and side collision impact resistance. These tests will be similar to NCAP tests. Earlier this year, some of the hottest selling Indian hatchbacks were tested under the NCAP tests and they managed to secure quite poor ratings. Even the UN has set standards for basic crash tests in international markets but these are not followed in India.

In the tests that were conducted earlier this year, some vehicles had a poor body structure while some remained pretty much stable. Volkswagen was the first one to add dual airbags in every variant of the Polo after the results of these tests came out. Overall, these two clauses can be very significant in deciding how manufacturers treat vehicle owners in India.

Tata Indica Vista ASEAN NCAP
Mandatory safety features is a good thing for vehicle customers