From October 2025 onwards, all new trucks will be required to have factory-fitted air-conditioned (AC) cabins for drivers — the Road Transport Ministry has made it mandatory.
The government finally notified the implementation date after several back-and-forth exercises in the past five years.
In a gazette notification issued Friday night (8 December), the ministry said, “...the vehicles manufactured on or after October 1, 2025 shall be fitted with an air-conditioning system for the cabin of vehicles of N2 and N3 category.”
The testing of the cabin fitted with AC will be as per the notified automotive standards, it said.
The N2 and N3 categories of vehicles are commercial trucks.
In July this year, the ministry issued a draft notification proposing to implement this idea from January 2025, but after consultation with the stakeholders, the implementation date was set for 1 October 2025.
According to the ministry, the ergonomics, comfort, and safety of the truck and bus drivers should be of paramount importance. There is a need to ensure that they are paid well and have better status, considering the crucial role they play in economic activities.
The new norm will also pave the way for truck manufacturers to sell the chassis with the cabin having an AC system. At present, vehicle-body builders fit the cabin.
Since the AC system will require modifications, including the vehicle dashboard, these would have to be fitted in by the manufacturers themselves.
In a survey of truck drivers across 10 states in 2020 by a non-profit organisation, almost half of the respondents admitted to driving vehicles even if they were feeling fatigued or sleepy.
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