The European Commission has adopted two proposals that would ensure cars could automatically call the emergency services after a serious accident. Its ‘eCall’ system automatically calls the 112 emergency number via a mobile connection and passes the vehicle’s location to the emergency services, potentially saving up to 2,500 lives a year and cutting response times by up to 50%.
If approved by the European Council and Parliament, all new passenger cars and small vans would need to be fitted with eCall technology from October 2015. In addition, each country in the EU would install infrastructure to handle the automated 112 calls.
Siim Kallas, European Commission Vice-President responsible for Transport, said “Today’s proposals are a milestone for safer roads in the EU. Last year, 28 000 persons were killed and 1.5 million were injured on EU roads. When an accident happens, every minute counts to rescue injured victims. The eCall technology has great potential to save lives in shortening dramatically the time of intervention of emergency services and this across the EU.”
The EC had previously hoped that eCall would be rolled out without the need for a legal mandate.
Michael O’Hara, Chief Marketing Officer of the GSMA, said “The GSMA fully supports the European Commission’s recommendation to utilise embedded mobile technology for eCall services. Not only will eCall save lives, but the rapid growth of the connected car market will be driven in part by this positive regulatory action. A critical next step is for Member States to provide mobile operators with routing information within a reasonable time period. This will allow operators to put the necessary processes in place to ensure eCall messages connect with the correct emergency call centre and local services.”