Shifting to active safety system and ADAS

Last September(2020) during an industry association annual meet(virtual this time), Shri Nitin Gadkari, Minister for Road Transport and Highways had mentioned about the vehicle scrappage policy for India. It has now been mentioned formally during the budget speech by Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman, Finance Minister of India,  on 1st Feb’21. Some of the highlights of the policy which is yet to be notified are- vehicles over 20 years old will need to be scrapped and those above 8 years will have to pay additional tax. According to Shri Gadkari, about 10 million vehicle could be scrapped under this new policy, giving the automotive industry a room for growth of over 30%. For automotive industry which contributes nearly 50% of gross manufacturing in India, this initiative is very encouraging in many respect.

The government push for getting old vehicle scrapped may already be having, a nearly matching pull from the owner of vehicles.

During our school days in early 1980s, it was a milestone for a small town middle-class family to own a four-wheeler. Those owning a vehicle were known in their locality or mohalla. And for those in middle class who could afford, it was generally pre-owned cars (2nd hand cars) that were being disposed by business community or rich and wealthy family of town. One of my schoolmate’s family was proud owner of pre-owned vehicle, a Premier Padmini Fiat, which was driven for over 8 years before the owners decided to buy something new, perhaps Maruti 800, which had just appeared on the horizon. The price for the pre-owned vehicle which had run for 8 years was no less. If I have to compare the investment in terms of land or gold at today’s cost, it will be worth Rs 45 lakhs in terms of land(540 square yards of land in town) or 8 Lakhs in gold(160 grams of gold). The process too was a long and tedious one, where the information of car sale took it’s own time to trickle to them, meeting arranged, price negotiation is done, payment date fixed and finally in the agreed time frame of a month or so, the money was paid and car brought home. Fast forward to 2020, a 10+ year old vehicle was put up for sale by my office colleague, on a newly built platform for sale of pre-owned vehicles. From the date of putting up the intent for sale and completion of transaction it was just about a week. But because of diesel engine being a rattling point, even though the car was in good running condition, it fetched a meagre amount. 

Owning old vehicle is a pain than a pride today. Pre-owned value of cars have declined to the extent that given some policy incentive many would prefer to have their old vehicle scraped in exchange for a new one.

Last month, National Road Safety Month 2021 was flagged off by Ministry of Road Transport and Highways. There has been initiatives and effort at various level to sensitise people about road safety. But being a large and extremely diverse country many a times such campaign fail to reach remote corners of the country. Our sensitivity towards road safety is many a times driven by fear of law (chalan as call in many places), rather than wilfully protecting ourself. Thereby many of our passive safety systems have not been able to give desired result in bringing down the loss of life due to road accidents. Various research study talks of how miserably aware we have been about road safety laws and thereafter its compliance.

Its time to change gear to active safety system and ADAS! 

Policy makers and advisors in automotive at MORTH have been looking at features like driver drowsiness, collision warning, lane departure, blind spot detection etc. MoRTH has put dates by when some of the features will be mandated in India. Use of active safety systems and ADAS could reduce road accidents and loss of life in India, as has been the case in many developed and developing economies.

Additionally, in-cab coaching which has been in discussion amongst the industry experts for almost a decade now is being featured in a passenger vehicle. Considering that many if not all the driver, rarely go for retraining or re-learning, apps like these could be an opportunity for many to improve their driving habit.


Maneesh Prasad, CEO & Founding Director, Telematics Wire

Published in Telematics Wire

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