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The Centre will make it mandatory for carmakers to provide a minimum of six airbags in motor vehicles that can carry up to 8 passengers for enhanced safety of occupants, Union Minister Nitin Gadkari said on Friday.

In a series of tweets, the Road Transport and Highways Minister said his ministry had already mandated the implementation of fitment of the driver airbag with effect from July 1, 2019 and front co-passenger airbag with effect from January 1, 2022.

"In order to enhance the safety of the occupants in motor vehicles carrying upto 8 passengers, I have now approved a Draft GSR Notification to make a minimum of 6 Airbags compulsory," Gadkari said. GSR here stands for General Statutory Rules.

Five things that we know about it:

1: To minimise the impact of frontal and lateral collisions on the occupants seated in both front and rear compartments, it has been decided that 4 additional airbags be mandated in the M1 vehicle category.

2: Two side/side torso airbags and two side curtain/tube airbags covering all outboard passengers.

3: This will ultimately ensure the safety of passengers across all segments, irrespective of the cost/variant of the vehicle.

4: According to latest government data, total 1,16,496 road accidents occurred on national highways (NHs), including expressways, in 2020, causing 47,984 deaths.

5: The minister had acknowledged that additional airbags in small cars will increase their cost by at least 3,000-4,000.

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