European Commission take action to deploy eCall by 2015
The Commission has adopted a recommendation urging member states to ensure that mobile phone network operators upgrade their infrastructure so that eCalls are efficiently passed on to emergency services.
The eCall system works by automatically dialling 112, the European emergency number, in the event of a serious accident and communicating the vehicle's location to the emergency services. This means that the emergency services are alerted even if the driver or passenger is unconscious or otherwise unable to call.
The technology speeds up the arrival of emergency teams by an estimated 40% in urban areas and 50% in rural areas. According to figures, eCall will save several hundred lives in Europe every year, and reduce the severity of injuries and trauma in tens of thousands of cases.
Neelie Kroes, commission vice-president for the digital agenda, said: ‘I am delighted – together with my colleagues responsible for Transport and Industry Vice Presidents Siim Kallas and Antonio Tajani – that we have taken the first step to ensure that millions of citizens will benefit from eCall, a system that can slash the time emergency services need to arrive at road accidents. eCall will save hundreds of lives and reduce the pain and suffering of road accident victims.’
The recommendation is due to be followed by the adoption by the Commission of specifications for the upgrade of emergency call response centres (under the Intelligent Transport Systems Directive –2010/40/EC) and a proposal for a regulation to require eCall devices meeting the required technical specifications to be fitted to all new models of passenger cars and light vehicles from 2015 in order to obtain EU-wide type approval.