I feel very very sorry for the untimely and tragic death of Gopinath Munde.
Unfortunately, India IS the road death capital of the world - we have more that 650 people who die EVERYDAY on the roads just by car deaths..
Most of us in India like to SPEED, drive without a care for self, passengers or fellow motorists and believe that ACCIDENTS CAN'T HAPPEN TO US.
Well, the death of Gopinath Munde proves that no one - not even the most important VIPs are safe from the deadly Indian Roads.
The question I ask is:
Could Gopinath Munde have survived if his car had side AIRBAGS that would have inflated at the time of impact and cushioned his inner organs?
What I read was that he died of severe internal injuries.
Aren't airbags supposed to help?
I was taken aback to read that Munde was being driven in a Maruti Suzuki SX4 car that unfortunately does NOT have airbags on the sides.
Do side airbags (curtains) help?
My heart stopped when I saw this video:
Unfortunately again, in India, there is a DISDAIN for airbags - even for the standard 2 airbags in the front.
This is a blog I wrote in Dec 2010 now reproduced for this article :
While casually conversing with my wife, she mentioned to me that my Dad had booked the 'slightly cheaper' Volkswagen Vento.
I immediately asked her what 'slightly cheaper meant' - was it a non-automatic and non leather seats version?
My wife hesitated and told me that actually my Dad had booked the 'No ABS' and 'No Airbags' version!
Just as I began freaking out, she mentioned that she had already got my Dad to convert to the 'higher' range model.
This brought back memories of the Hyundai i10 my wife had bought for herself a couple of years ago. She wanted a cute, easy to drive car and settled on the i10.
When we went to the Hyundai showroom and began discussing the versions of the i10 on offer, the Salesman quickly seized us up and understood that my wife was ready to buy asap. When we asked for discounts and price benefits, his direction of bargaining STUNNED me!
'Madam, you will drive the Car in South Mumbai right'? the Salesman asked.
'Yup' said my wife. 'Actually may be like 5-6 kms a day'.
'Very fine' he said, while pushing some stale looking chocolates to me - 'No need to buy ABS and Air Bags. We will save lots of money'.
I'm really not into what goes under the hood of cars, but I do know that ABS and Air Bags are Safety Features!!!
Angrily, I growled, 'Are you telling my wife to compromise on her safety just to do this sale fast'?
'No Sir, nothing like that. It's just that only out-station drivers buy cars with Air Bags...in the city, no need'.
I freaked out. I mean I was sitting in Hyundai's marquee showroom in the poshest part of Mumbai and here was this slimy Car Salesman behaving like one of the florists on the road just interested in one more sale!
After hearing how Volkswagen had also managed to hoodwink my Dad, I really wonder what the ethics and morals of these Car Companies are in India? Don't they think it's their business to educate first time buyers of cars in the world - Indians - what they SHOULD HAVE in the cars?
Unfortunately I think their philosophy is , - 'Sir, just buy my Car... you can conveniently die later'...
And ironically, the largest deaths on the road occur in .... yup - India...
How I wish I could meet this Salesman now and wring his neck :(
If you are concerned about your own safety and the happiness of your family, MAY I PLEASE BEG YOU TO DRIVE A CAR THAT HAS THE MAXIMUM AIRBAGS?
RIP Mr. Munde
Alok there had been issue with Air bags as well. I know a close relative of mine facial tissues were burned due to heat that is disposed when airbag opened.
But yes I agree that Govt of India should set certain safety features as mandatory like ABS, Airbag, Gear Lock, Central Locking, defogger etc. These are not luxury, these are safety should not be a choice option!
I really feel sad about the demise .About point made by Nidhi, i really feel that we don't value our lives.
a)There is a rule about helmet .A biker needs to wear helmet compulsory by law.So even you dont wear if you have to pay a fine..Still, people dont wear it and if a cop catches him , he will pay "chai pani" and get away..But its for your safety!!!
b)Above rule also applies to seat belt..Even if you make it compulsory , it wont help..People need to VALUE their own life
c)In Bombay i have seen people jumping tracks, jump from one stationary train to another , indulge in showbazi while train is moving etc.There is constant announcements on public system that please dont get in while train is moving etc.But no use.People run on the roof top of the train near high voltage wires!!!
I see people crossing railway crossing while train is approaching..I see people jumping on a platform(instead of using over bridge) while train is approaching..
No amount of fine, rules can help ,if YOU dont value YOUR life..I am really pained to see this attitude ..I feel sorry for the loved ones/family who are left behind..
Feel sorry for Mr. Munde and his family.
Sure there are some risks with Airbags as cited by Amit above, but we ALSO need to be aware of precautions to be taken when driving a car with Airbags. I'd urge people to read this: http://www.dmv.org/how-to-guides/air-bag-safety.php PLEASE DO!
Airbags and seat belts (including shoulder belts) are there for a purpose. Rules or no rules, we are responsible for our own safety. I'm with you on getting a car with maximum safety ratings, air bags, seat+shoulder belts etc. I think most people in our country take things for granted. Common excuses? "yeh India hai, yaha gaadi ka speed kam hai...yaha chalta hai" or "it's not a rule here" or "main to yahi aas paas gaadi chalata hu city mein....highway thodi hai jo seat belt pehnu"
I was in two major car accidents - in one case the car had air bags and in the other the car didn't; in one case I was to blame (I was slightly over limit but lost control at a really sharp exit and car went off the bridge) and in other case the other person was to blame (a driver was speeding in opposite direction - head on). However, what saved me in both cases was the seat belts. The point I'm trying to make -- accidents happen even if YOU are a good driver or even when it might not be your fault! and they (accidents) happen matter of milli seconds and in such circumstances we lose our ability to think - let seat belts and airbags do the thinking for us.
hi alok, couple of things... he was sitting in the back seat so air bags would not have helped him unless the car had side airbags which are only available in very high end cars. wearing the seat belt may have saved him. have recently heard of 2 other cases of backseat accident injuries - serious injuries. both cases the person was not wearing their seatbelt.
overall, i have to believe airbags are very very useful. i was in a car accident just 10 days back. driving an i20 automatic myself and swerved into a tree while avoiding a pedestrian. long story short - airbags opened and i do believe they saved me from serious injury. cant say if they saved my life but certainly am hugely thankful i had the airbags.
safest car in india: http://www.volvocars.com/in/Documents/XC90-2013.pdf