Importance of Safety Ratings when Buying New Car
In light of India’s booming passenger market, there has been a debate over the increasing number of car crashes on the roads and the lack of safety features in Indian vehicles. According to the NCRB (National Crime Records Bureau), 1.55 lakh Indians died in road accidents in 2021, which works out to 426 deaths every day or almost 18 every hour. Moreover, this is despite India having only three per cent of the world’s vehicular population.
However, the frequency of road accidents is not the only problem. Developed countries like the US and Japan, which have higher road accident rates than India have lower fatalities. In 2018, the US recorded 2.21 million road accidents but only 37,461 deaths. Similarly, Japan recorded 499,232 road accidents with 4,698 deaths. Further, this demonstrates the danger of Indian roads and the paramount importance of driver safety.
Moreover, there is a lot of confusion and misinformation regarding the vehicle safety ratings and unfortunately, most buyers go ahead with a car purchase without any proper understanding of vehicle safety ratings. Further, this article will explain and give you a clearer insight into the most popular vehicle tests/ratings in India and an overview about the International safety ratings as well.
Global NCaP Norms
International vehicle safety norms cover all aspects of vehicle safety, from design, production, and testing to the operation and maintenance of the vehicle. Additionally, they are designed to reduce the risk of injury and death caused by vehicle crashes and other road-related accidents. Moreover, they are also designed to reduce environmental damage from vehicle emissions.
International vehicle safety norms include standards for crashworthiness, airbag deployment, braking systems, occupant protection, and vehicle stability control. With the standards being set by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe and the World Forum for Harmonization of Vehicle Regulations. Hence, compliance with these standards is required for vehicles to be sold in Europe and other countries that have adopted them.
Additionally, Vehicle manufacturers in Europe must comply with the mandates outlined in the European Union’s General Safety Regulation which include:
- Advanced emergency braking systems, which are designed to detect obstacles and automatically apply the brakes to avoid a collision.
- Data recording during the event of an accident.
- Crash-test approved safety belts, which are designed to keep passengers secure in the event of a crash.
- The use of softer materials such as foams & crushable plastics inside bumpers to reduce the impact during accidents.
- Sensors for reversing, which can detect obstacles and objects behind the vehicle and provide alerts.
- Speed assistance, which can alert drivers if they are exceeding the speed limit.
- Warnings of drowsiness or distraction, which can alert drivers to dangerous levels of inattention.
- Front and side airbags.
Before Brexit, the UK was considering implementing the EU’s proposal for mandatory minimum car safety standards. Though the UK has yet to make a final decision on the measures. Further, these would potentially require vehicles to include safety technologies such as intelligent speed assistance (ISA), advanced emergency braking (AEB), and lane-keeping technology. As of now, there is no law that mandates new cars to be equipped with airbags. However, most cars typically have four to six airbags installed.
Since 1998, dual airbags have been mandated by federal law in the United States. Moreover, the Federal Motor and Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS) sets the safety requirements, many of which are similar to those mandated by the European Union. However, the FMVSS has added new specifications, such as crush-resistant roofs, improved seat belts, and sensors. Additionally, these regulations have improved the safety of US vehicles and have helped to reduce the number of fatal car accidents.
In 2011, the Global NCAP (GNCAP) was established as an international organization to promote cooperation between regional NCAP tests. Further, encouraging vehicle crash-testing and reporting in emerging markets. Since 2014, the Global NCAP has been conducting frontal crash performance tests for passenger cars in India. And as of February 2022, fifty cars have been tested.
Further, the ratings for each car model are primarily based on two parameters – Adult Occupant Protection (AOP) & Child Occupant Protection (COP).
Adult Occupant Protection (AOP) score assesses the safety of 16 areas of the body for adults seated in the car. These areas are the head, neck, chest, knee, femur, pelvis, leg and foot. An additional point is added if the car has safety features like a seatbelt reminder, ABS, and side impact protection as standard equipment.
When researching a car for a family with children, the Child Occupant Protection (COP) score is an important rating to consider. Moreover, it is based on measurements from two child dummies. That simulate an 18 month old baby and a 3 year old child, in ISOFIX child seats mounted to ISOFIX anchors. The score, out of 49 points, takes into account the same body indicators as mentioned for adults. Additionally, it gives a fair idea of how well the child is protected in the child restraint seats.
Based on the testing of GNCAP rating, We bring you the top safest cars & Safest SUV that are made in India
|Make and model||Adult safety rating||Points scored||Child safety rating||Points scored||Body shell|
|Skoda Slavia||5 Star||29.71 / 34||5 Star||42/49||Stable|
|Volkswagen Virtus||5 Star||29.71 / 34||5 Star||42/49||Stable|
|Skoda Kushaq||5 Star||29.64 / 34||5 Star||42/49||Stable|
|Volkswagen Taigun||5 Star||29.64 / 34||5 Star||42/49||Stable|
|Mahindra Scorpio-N||5 Star||29.25 / 34||3 Star||28.93/49||Stable|
|Tata Punch||5 Star||16.45 / 17||4 Star||40.89/49||Stable|
|Mahindra XUV300||5 Star||16.42 / 17||4 Star||37.44/49||Stable|
|Tata Altroz||5 Star||16.13 / 17||3 Star||29/49||Stable|
|Tata Nexon||5 Star||16.06 / 17||3 Star||25/49||Stable|
|Mahindra XUV700||5 Star||16.03 / 17||4 Star||41.66/49||Stable|
*Data as on April 2023
In January 2022, the Indian government introduced the Bharat New Car Assessment Programme (BNCAP). In order to bring vehicular safety standards in the country on par with international standards.
About Bharat NCAP ratings
- The Bharat NCAP crash-testing protocols shall be aligned with global standards. While taking into consideration existing Indian regulations. This will enable Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) to get their vehicles tested at Indian testing facilities.
- Further, Star Rating from 1 to 5 shall be based on the assessment effective 1st April 2023.
- It will be applicable on motor vehicles of category M1 with gross vehicle weight less than 3.5 tones, manufactured or imported in the country and has seating capacity of 8 occupants excluding the driver.
- Moreover, the car manufacturer or importer shall pay for the new car assessment as its a voluntary program.
- Further, its considered to be a crucial step for the Indian automotive sector to be Atmanirbhar. Towards the mission of making India the leading automotive hub globally.
- This will not only guarantee occupants safety and the sturdiness of the vehicles, but also make Indian automobiles more desirable for export.
As people are becoming more and more aware of the importance of car safety. As a result, it certainly influences the purchasing decisions. Hence, the introduction of Bharat NCAP is a boon to the Indian consumers allowing them to choose cars with better Star-Ratings according to their safety. Additionally, its encouraging original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) in India to make safer vehicles.
Now that you know all about vehicle safety ratings, consider them while making your purchase. Moreover, Vehicle safety ratings can go a long way towards guarding you against a crash!