Months after the Ministry of Road, Transport and Highways had banned the fitment of bullbars on vehicles in India, the Delhi High Court has stayed the government order. PTI reports that a two-member bench of the Delhi High Court – which is hearing a plea filed by a supplier and manufacturer of bullbars in India – has sought clarification over the basis for the ban and has given the government time till April 18, the date of the next hearing, to respond. The Court has also ordered authorities to not issue challans for the offense till such time.
In its December 2017 notification to state authorities, the government had termed the use of bullbars as contravention of Section 52 of the Motor Vehicle Act, 1988 that is centred around alterations to vehicles. Following the notification, the fitment, sale and distribution of bullbars attract penalties under Section 190 and Section 191 of the MVA. While the government notification was brief, it did make it amply clear that the move was to lessen the risk of injury to pedestrians and vehicle occupants in the event of an impact.
For long, vehicles in India have been accessorised with bullbars, often available at the point of sale itself. While some feel the accessory adds to the look of their vehicles, others are of the opinion that bullbars and crash guards help protect their vehicle’s body in low impact scenarios. However, the fact is that these extraneous parts can actually reduce the effectiveness of safety systems built into the car’s structure. And that’s because bullbars are typically fixed to the vehicle’s body structure at two points; in an impact, the crash energy is transmitted directly to these two points rather than being dispersed through the crumple zone. Further, bullbars can also hamper the functioning and timely deployment of the airbags.
Pedestrian safety is also hugely compromised by bullbars. Cars are designed to meet pedestrian safety standards but the fitment of bullbars actually offsets the benefits of a pedestrian-friendly front-end design as mandated by latest vehicle norms. The rigid bullbars have proved lethal in many car-to-human accidents.
Should bullbars be banned? Let us know in the comments section below.