Date: October 11, 2023. — The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways has proposed two new measures to enhance the safety of passengers and drivers of buses in India. The first measure is to make it mandatory for bus body builders to get certification from government-recognized testing agencies such as ARAI and ICAT. This requirement will be effective from mid-2025. The second measure is to encourage the installation of special ‘indirect vision’ devices on buses. These devices are similar to the Blind Spot Detection systems found in cars. This initiative aims to reduce blind spot-related accidents and enhance passenger safety.
The blind spot devices are designed to effectively eliminate blind spots. They provide bus drivers with a comprehensive view of their surroundings, including areas that were previously difficult to monitor. This will significantly reduce the risk of accidents caused by blind spot-related issues. The ADAS-like devices will not only provide a comprehensive view. They will also offer real-time alerts to drivers if any obstacle, vehicle, or pedestrian is detected in their blind spots. This feature will enable drivers to take immediate corrective action.
The new Bus Body Code establishes standards for the placement of emergency exits, seat separation, electric wiring, structure vibrations, braking performance, and vehicle stability function. Bus body builders currently have the option to self-certify whether they adhere to the Bus Body Code or not. This could jeopardize the quality and safety requirements.
“Indirect vision” gadgets, commonly known as camera systems and digital displays, intend to address the issue of poor visibility for bus drivers, especially in blind zones. These gadgets are located in blind spots and at the back of the bus. They will function similarly to Blind Spot Detection systems in contemporary autos. They will improve the driver’s overall eyesight and ensure the safety of passengers and other road users. Achieve this by projecting real-time video feeds onto displays positioned in front of the driver.
The Road Transport Ministry is planning to make the installation of these blind spot devices mandatory for all buses operating in the country. The proposal also outlines a comprehensive compliance and implementation timeline. The announcement has received widespread support from the general public, passenger advocacy groups, and safety organizations. They have been advocating for enhanced bus safety measures. By addressing the blind spot issue, the Road Transport Ministry expects a substantial reduction in accidents involving buses. This will improve road safety for all road users.
Bus operators may choose to install “indirect vision” equipment, but they must certify bus bodies. The Ministry has given stakeholders 30 days to offer recommendations and comments on the draft notification.
This blind spot detection devices represents a significant step forward in the quest for safer bus travel. If implemented, it could potentially revolutionize the bus travel industry and contribute to a substantial reduction in accidents related to blind spots. The move has been met with optimism and is expected to gain momentum in the coming months as discussions progress toward its formal adoption.