Simple car safety additions could save thousands of lives in Iran: SIC

Simple car safety additions could save thousands of lives in Iran: SIC

Airbag fitment to Iran's ageing car parc could save up to 10,000 lives per year, estimates a leading European Chamber of Commerce. 

It appears few Iranian cars come equipped with airbags, but in addition to the simple safety addition, up to 60% of the country's car parc, as well as much of its road infrastructure, could also be in need of urgent replacement to halt the catastrophic number of road fatalities and accidents.

Iran has one of the worst per capita accident rates in the world with around 38,000 deaths and accidents occurring every year in the country, which has been subject to severe sanctions in order to try and halt what the West views as possible attempts to enrich uranium for nuclear weapons.

Automotive - along with aerospace - has witnessed great difficulty in accessing spare parts to replace ageing machinery although the vehicle sector has recently benefited from a temporary exemption from some of the harsher overseas targeting.

"Most of the accidents [which] happen in Iran, happen with bad brake [s] and old cars [for example]," Scandinavian-Iranian Chamber of Commerce president, Reza Khelili-Dylami, told just-auto from Stockholm. 

"So we must change something more than 50%-60% of the Iranian car [s], because the oldest car is more than 30 years old. We have old English Hilman [s] - we must change the old cars.

"I have been in Iran [this week] and we have some Cadillacs and Chevrolets more than 45 years old - this must change."

Khelili-Dylami also maintained "40%-50%" of Iranian cars did not have airbags, but if they did, up to 10,000 lives could be saved. "I hope we can find companies who can help [the] Iranian car industry in airbags and [brake] systems," he said.

Suppliers have been eyeing Iran for some time with its potential to be around a 1.6m market and as a temporary easing of sanctions to the automotive sector has provided some relief for overseas OEMs and component producers.

The French automotive suppliers association, FIEV, led a delegation of its members to Tehran early this year, while its Scandinavian counterpart, FKG, is looking to undertake a similar operation in 2015.

"We want to have some co-operation with Swedish road [authorities] and help with Iranian roads for security - and find solution [s] for these dangerous roads in Iran," said Khelili-Dylami.

Iran currently has a low car penetration of just 175 vehicles per 1,000 population putting the country 67th in world rankings.

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