All new car models sold in the EU will have an automatic emergency call system installed by April 2018, due to a European Parliament vote.
The system, called eCall, detects the change in speed of a vehicle, whether or not an airbag has been inflated, and then sends data to the emergency services; which includes the location, the direction of travel, how many passengers are on-board, and fuel type of the vehicle. This is especially useful in situations whereby the driver or passengers are unconcious or incapacitated, as help can still be triggered.
eCall has already been adopted in Slovenia and is being used by emergency response centres there. Estimates suggest that it’s speeding up response times by up to 50% – as emergency services already have a good degree of information in order to dispatch help. eCall can also be installed in older cars and be placed under the driver’s seat.
This new safety featured comes after the EU released figures showing that road fatalities across the continent have fallen consistently since 2001. It’s now hoped that the eCall device, along with further safe motoring legislation, will make Europe’s roads even safer.
Commisioner Gunther Oettinger, who’s responsible for digital society and economy within the European Parliament, commented on the ruling, saying “eCall is a perfect example of an EU supported project that developed technological solutions to save people’s lives. The legislation now allows delivering real benefits of digital technology”.
Marijan Rimac is head of technical assistance at the Croatia Auto Club, which is also in favour of implementating the eCall system. “The basic idea is to save human lives. It is estimated that the implementation of the eCall could save at least 2,000 lives a year in Europe and dramatically reduce the consequences of injuries,” he says.
However, there is an obstacle to the system being made completely compulsory. The European Parliament are concerned that the system’s data submission could breach privacy rights, but the manufacturers have argued that data is only sent in the event of an accident.
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Photo credit: Wikimedia
Author Lex Barber