David Martin today (26 February) welcomed a vote in the European Parliament supporting draft legislation to make it mandatory to fit emergency call devices to all new models of cars and light vans in the European Union by October 2015.
The in-vehicle ‘eCall’ system would automatically call the emergency number 112* in the event of an accident to alert the emergency services automatically to serious road accidents indicating the exact location.
"The deployment of a public EU-wide emergency call system could represent a very important achievement for the safety of European road users” said Mr Martin,
“About 2500 lives could be saved every year in Europe and the severity of injuries could be considerably reduced in tens of thousands of cases.”
MEPs strengthened a data-protection clause in the draft law to ensure that eCall-equipped vehicles could not be subject to constant tracking. When an accident triggers an eCall, the data sent automatically to emergency centres would be restricted to the type of activation, the class of vehicle, the type of fuel used, the time of the accident, the exact location of the vehicle and the direction of travel. It is hoped that the eCall system can be extended to motorcycles, trucks, coaches and buses in the future.
*112 is the common emergency telephone number that can be dialled free of charge from any fixed or mobile telephone in order to reach emergency services in all member states of the European Union.