March 09, 2014 | By: Vidyanath Aarvi

A Question of Safety?

        We are at a point in our lives where things are easy to come by. Our economy, educations and jobs have dictated a higher, if not healthier standard of living. To our immediately senior generation, buying a car was a stuff of dreams. They used to plan for years on end just to purchase their first automobile. Mostly it would have been Maruti 800, and indeed it was a joyous and special feeling to see your first car in the flesh, at the showroom waiting for delivery.

        But all this was way back in the date, today we are spoiled for choice and the options we have are quite endless, nobody in our position buys a tiny, entry level hatchback nowadays and that's a testament to how things have improved in such a short span.

        We as a nation of engineers personally witnessed immense growth. We are one of the largest producers, consumers and exporters of vehicles in the world, not to mention an engineering powerhouse. But do we really practice what we preach, at least when it comes to purchasing a car?

        As Indians, we look for the best bargain, infact Google had even released a report recently that we Indians do a lot of research about the products we're interested in before making a buying decision. Naturally that translates that we are very well-informed lot. But the sad truth is we're not. We only look at the bargain and fail to foresee the repercussions we might face at that cost. At least this is the mindset we have while purchasing a vehicle. How many of us consider important safety features such as airbags or ABS while making a purchase decision? Why hasn't the government made these features mandatory? Why are manufacturers deliberately avoiding these features in entry-level cars?

        We all should know how important safety features are in a vehicle. Safety is not something that manufacturers oversee or apply as an afterthought. They are integral to a vehicle system and its passengers. How the government's automotive regulatory board as skipped these mandatory considerations in vehicles is beyond me, but we can make a difference. Signing petitions is a good move, all manufacturers, engineering concerns and consumers can rally for this cause which might drastically bring down fatalities, but in India and its bureaucracy there's still a long road ahead. But it's also the consumer's responsibility to make sure that the car which he/she is going to purchase next is specified with safety features like ABS and airbags. General conjecture is that one might drive properly and safely and that those features are unnecessary, but be warned; the person driving opposite/next to you might not be a very good driver. Better safe than sorry. it's not just our life that you're endangering, but also that of a loved one. Maybe it's prudent to say that you can leave the crashing and crash testing to those crash-test dummies instead of being a dummy human.
Drive/Ride Safely. Wear Seat-belt/Helmet