Faulty accident imported vehicles pose a serious threat

By Hira Khalid

Islamabad, August 17, 2019: Lack of mechanism and authority to check vehicle safety features effectiveness and influx of faulty accident vehicles from abroad pose a serious threat to the public commuting in passenger vehicles in the country.

In Pakistan, only periodic check of commercial vehicles” performance is governed under motor vehicle ordinance 1965, which is very outdated, unreliable and does not ensure safe vehicles plying on roads.

“Advanced safety features are not listed in this ordinance despite that regulatory requirement for safety features in Pakistan are the same as required globally,” said Mr. Zameer Siddiqui, auto safety expert, and enthusiast.

He added that there are two kinds of safety features namely Active Safety Features and Passive Safety Feature.

Active Safety Features includes Seat Belts and Child Seats with ISO FIX anchors, which primarily protect the safety of vehicle occupants. Passive Safety Feature includes SRS Airbags (Supplementary Restraint System) which work together with Seat Belts to help protect the safety of vehicle occupants.

He added that used cars being imported in Pakistan do not usually comply to the safety standards and most of the time they come without airbags since they are accidental.

Absence of governing authority and safety checking mechanism is providing easy grounds to such imports. The recent death of Osama Kaira, Son of Qamar Zaman Kaira in a similar imported vehicle allowed to ply on roads with no airbags, should have been an eye-opener for policymakers but sadly it didn’t mobilize them.

“The airbags from the imported vehicles are removed and sold in the local market. This is a regular practice here since there is no authority to have a check on the safety standards of vehicles,” said Zameer.

Resultantly, he added, it is the customer that has to bear the cost of installing a complete airbag system in the used imported cars.

“It can cost around Rs 300000 to replace complete airbag system in vehicles with genuine new parts,” he said.

It is worth adding here that SRS Airbag and its related components once deployed cannot be repaired and they can only be replaced with new genuine parts.

He added that if we compare Pakistan’s situation with India, it is quite clear that India is a very advanced automotive industry.

 India governs their rules and regulations related to driver’s license, registration of motor vehicles, control of traffic, construction and maintenance of motor vehicles, etc. through Motor Vehicles Act (MVA) 1988 and the Central Motor Vehicles Rules (CMVR) 1989.

“To-date India has built 58 regulations. But we don’t see any such safety feature checking mechanism here in Pakistan. This calls for the need of regular checkup and certification program on vehicle safety and performance,” said Zameer.

He added that similar programs are implemented in Japan and Asia Pacific countries. “In Pakistan, the government should implement mandatory check-up of all Safety Specs of the vehicle on a yearly basis to ensure these specs are as per OE standard and operational,” he suggested.

However, he added, Original Equipment Manufacturers operating in Pakistan do comply with the safety standards as all Toyota vehicles are now equipped with at least two airbags for front-seat occupants.

 He pointed out that global brands like Toyota are committed globally to improve vehicle safety and they have developed their own vehicle standards and strictly comply with those standards.

“Installation of the airbag is not mandatory in Pakistan but due to Toyota Global policy all Toyota vehicles manufactured in Pakistan are NCAP 4 star complied,” he said.

He said that it is delightsome that other major player Honda too has all safety features. Suzuki still has some variants without airbags which can be ensured through policy. As per the information available, new entrants coming in the market will also have all basic safety features installed.

It is to be noted that Euro NCAP (The European New Car Assessment Programme) assesses a vehicle’s safety standards and rates it on the basis of crash test results; how safe is the car for the consumers.

The NCAP Safety features majorly include Dual SRS (Supplement Restraint System) Airbags, ISO FIX Child Seat Anchors and FR (Driver+Passenger) 3-Point ELR Seat Belts with Pretensioner and Force Limiter.

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