Needed: More safety features in cars

Preventing cars from turning into coffins need enhances safety features like alarms or IT based devices that warn about lethal levels of toxic gases like carbon monoxide (CO) and sparking in the engines that could reduce the vehicle into ash within minutes, auto industry experts said.

>> IANS/
Published : 24 July 2014, 02:22 PM
Updated : 24 July 2014, 02:22 PM

In the backdrop of the horrific death of three people in a car in south Delhi due to suspected CO poisoning, road safety and transport sector experts said Information technology (IT) based devices should be developed to equip vehicles with a mechanism to save precious lives.

The features should not only alert the passengers but also launch emergency services in case of CO build up, fire and automatic locks being applied, they said.

"There is a need for such (IT-based systems) in the cars. Apart from these the vehicle has to be maintained properly with timely servicing," SP Singh, senior fellow at the Indian Foundation of Transport Research and Training, told IANS over the phone.

Singh said that an updated legal mechanism also is needed to be put in place that can adjudge liability in case of mechanical or electrical failure causing such incidences.

"A mechanism has to be found through which vehicle (product) failure liability can be fixed between the negligence of owner not abiding by the servicing schedule or the manufacturer. For this, the state transport agencies should be properly equipped."

There has also been a rise in the occurrence of incidents of passenger vehicles catching fire due to faulty wiring and usage of alternative energy kits like CNG fuel converters.

International Road Federation Chairman K K Kapila called for some engineering solution to cut off the AC or the ignition of a vehicle if the CO levels in the sitting area shoot up dangerously.

"There could a kind of an alarm or an auto-cut off. We have to see how to do it. I am sure engineering scientist can do it as it is doable," Kapila told IANS.

The new safety provisions should act as pressure valves which break in a crisis system, saving precious lives, he said.

To prevent sudden deaths, Kapila suggested a three-step safety mechanism. "The moment sensors in a car detect high level of CO the AC should be cut off, the ignition should be get shut and the windows of the cars should also automatically get lowered."

He cautioned that despite the need for providing enhanced safety provisions in cars, there is also a need to educate motorists about not using a car as a drawing room for meetings.

"A car is meant to be used for travelling. It is not a place to sit and discuss business matters for hours," he said, referring to the South Delhi incident in which the victims spent around four hours in a static car with its AC on.