Be safe and then drive

Fiat India has been stressing on its cars' adherence to stringent European safety standards, its crash-tested cabins which minimise damage to occupants in case of collisions and other safety features like crumple zones, side-impact beams for maximum passenger and driver safety.

Other options Fiat India offers are a fire-prevention system that cuts off fuel supply to prevent fires during an accident, an anti-lock braking system (ABS) with electronic brake distribution (EBD) and driver-side airbags.

Fiat India's stress on safety may be dismissed by many in India, a country where the low cost of ownership factor assumes greater importance in car purchase decisions. But the company, in an urgent need to create its own brand positioning, has highlighted a much-needed aspect in cars available here, which is neglected by other carmakers in the country.

Carmakers in India tend to focus on the pick-up, power capabilities and fuel consumption of their cars, almost neglecting safety features, which is not surprising considering that safety as an aspect is neglected in every facet of our life.

Some facts:
Every seven minutes one person dies in an accident on Indian roads. Every two minutes someone is seriously injured in India. Apart from human and social loss, economic loss incurred from accidents amounts to Rs 5,000 crore per year in India. National highways account for 25 per cent of all accidents and a shocking 34 per cent of fatalities.

According to a recent report in The Times of India, India recorded 2,24,107 road accidents in 2002, the highest in the world with a death toll of 60,000. And 70 per cent of the accidents occurred because of poor roads and bad driving.