A horrific crash involving a brand new Maruti Suzuki Baleno has left four occupants of the car dead and two critically injured. The car, designed to seat five passengers, was said to be carrying one more passenger when it was reportedly hit by a truck carrying potatoes. Following the impact, the car rolled over to the other side of the road on the National Highway 1, killing three of its occupants in the process. The fourth was declared brought dead to the Panipat civil hospital. The driver of the Himachal Pradesh registered truck fled the spot, and is yet to be nabbed. The Baleno was bought on Diwali eve.

Maruti Baleno Accident

Driving the car at the time of the mishap was Mr. Sanjay Sehgal (52), a businessman based out of Jalandhar. Sanjay, his wife Kiran (48), his nieces Pallavi (16) and Parul (17), and nephews Sonu (20) and Anshul (18), were in the car during the accident. The accident happened in the wee hours of Thursday morning (19th November). The family left Jalandhar at 1030 PM on Wednesday, to Faridabad. the accident happened near Gharonda, Karnal. Sonu and Pallavi are battling for their lives after being critically injured. Details on whether the occupants of the car were wearing seat belts at the time of accident, and on whether airbags were deployed during the crash, remain unknown.

Maruti Suzuki Baleno 1

Notably, the Maruti Baleno is the only budget hatchback in India that features twin airbags and ABS+EBD as standard safety features across variants. The car is also the lightest in its class, with Maruti Suzuki claiming that high strength steel has been used to keep kerb weight low. In fact, the Baleno is about 75 kilograms lighter than the Maruti Swift, a much smaller hatchback. The car involved in the accident seems badly crumpled. This is bound to raise questions on the structural strength of the car’s lightweight body. Crash test ratings will help buyers choose cars based on their safety rankings. India currently doesn’t have one.

Meanwhile, without knowing the exact nature of the accident and the speeds involved, it’s hard to tell if a heavier car would have withstood the mishap better. To put things into perspective, a truck vs car collision will leave the car badly crumpled, 9 times out of 10. It won’t really matter if it’s a Maruti Baleno or a Volkswagen Polo. Taking basic precautions such as wearing seatbelts at all times and doing sane speeds on Indian highways is crucial for road safety. Also, airbags will deploy only if seat belts are worn. There’s no point buying a car with airbags and driving around without wearing seatbelts.

Editor note: Information available on the Tribune suggests that the ill-fated Baleno was struck by a truck as the former attempted an overtaking maneuver. The Baleno jumped the divider, overturned and was hit by another oncoming truck. These multiple impacts are perhaps the reason for the badly mangled state of the Baleno. Most, if not all cars, would have sustained similar damage.

Must read – Heavy car vs light car – Which is safer?

Maruti Suzuki Baleno 5

Maruti Suzuki’s cars have come under heavy criticism in the past, for featuring weak body structures.

Also see – Why cars that are safe in Europe are unsafe in India? 

Via TheHindustanTimes

12 COMMENTS

  1. What was the speed at which the baleno was travelling. That will be the major factor in deciding why the car is in this state after the crash.

  2. Going by the image, I don’t think airbags would have helped much in saving the occupants in the front seats. But curtain airbag would have helped to some extent. But as we know Baleno doesn’t come with curtain airbags even in the top variant, that would be out of equation. Anyway hope those two innocents battling for live gets recovered very soon.

  3. Unless an until we come to know about the speed n the situation , its very hard to judge….. N polo is out of option due to the news that has come up…. VW cars have defeat device software used to hide the emissions of harmful nitrogen oxide from regulators………

  4. I think more needs to be investigated on this incident. Most of the news reports are quite vague which do not clarify how exactly this happened. The direction of travel of the Truck and the car are important factors as that would give a lot more clarity of the situation. Hitting a truck head on or on the same direction would change the difference a lot. In the end of the day, we cant do much to cheat from the laws of physics and a head on impact like this is going to be catastrophic.

  5. We can’t judge anything here. High Speed is the main cause for this horrifying accident. After seeing the images, the speed should be not lesss than 120 kilometres per hour. In that case no BMW or Mercedes would have sustain in this kind of crash. So no point of questioning the durability of this car. Airbags won’t help as it hit and rolled many times.

  6. http://www.tribuneindia.com/news/cities/jalandhar/4-of-family-killed-in-road-accident/160603.html

    This has some more details about the accident.

    “The accident took place at 2.30 am when Sanjay was overtaking a truck and couldn’t control the speeding car. After Sanjay overtook the truck, he lost control over the car and was hit by the same truck from behind.
    Following the hit, the car overturned and after it crossed over the divider, it was again hit by another speeding truck, Sehgal added.”

    The vehicle has collided by two trucks at high speeds. One in the same directions which made it lose control and overturn and one from the opposite direction. Can you think of the forces involved here?

  7. Really sad incident, but does not lend much credence to maruti’s claim of high strength lightweight material (not that I believed them, anyway)!

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