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Life-saving emergency call system in all cars by 2015

New cars made in 2015 must be equipped with a system that automatically warns the emergency services in case of an accident.

The European Commission wants the life-saving eCall system to be fitted to all new models of cars and light vehicles from 2015. eCall automatically dials Europe’s single emergency number 112 in the event of a serious accident and communicates the vehicle’s location to the emergency services.

This cuts the time it takes in half for ambulances and police to arrive at the scene of the accident, writes De Volkskrant.

Euro commissioner Neelie Kroes, disclosed the obligation for the industry on Thursday, which is also confirmed by her spokesman.

The European Commission argued in 2009 for voluntary adoption, but that has not worked. Only 0.7 percent of European cars were then equipped with the so-called ‘eCall’ system.

Saving lives
The system has been developed with European funding, and indicates the position of the vehicle to the fire squad and the police. Who then only need half the time they usually needed to arrive at the scene of the accident. According to previous calculations, this would save about 2500 lives per year.

Every minute is crucial to save lives and reduce the severity of injuries when emergency services are called to a road accident. Yet people injured in an accident do not always have the reflex or the physical ability to call emergency services immediately. eCall devices address this problem by alerting emergency services immediately 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. Once widely deployed, 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 Commission’s aim is for a fully functional eCall service to be in place all over the European Union (as well as Croatia, Iceland, Norway and Switzerland) by 2015.