The European Commission this month adopted two proposals to require that, by October 2015, cars will be able to automatically call emergency services in the case of a serious crash.
The "eCall" system will automatically dial 112 - Europe's single emergency number - in the event of a serious accident. It wall also communicate the vehicle's location to emergency services, even if the driver is unconscious or unable to make a phone call.
THE Commission estimates that the system could save up to 2500 lives a year.
This draft legislation will require that from October 2015, all new models of passenger cars and light duty vehicles would be fitted with 112 eCall and the necessary infrastructure would be created for the proper receipt and handling of eCalls in emergency call response centres - ensuring the compatibility, interoperability and continuity of the EU-wide eCall service.
European Commission Vice-President Siim Kallas, responsible for Transport, said (on 13 June): "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."
Proposals for legislation to create a mandatory eCall system
The Commission is proposing two pieces of legislation to help create and implement the system:
A Regulation concerning type-approval requirements for the deployment of the eCall system (and amending the related Directive 2007/46/EC) – making the vehicle fit for eCall; and
A Decision on the deployment of the interoperable EU-wide eCall – making the public infrastructure fit for eCall.
These proposals complete the Commission's three-phase legislative journey to make eCall mandatory throughout the EU (see IP/11/1010 and Delegated Regulation N° 305/2013). The Commission had previously called for eCall to be rolled out voluntarily across Europe by 2009 (IP/09/1245).
Once the proposals are approved by the Council and Parliament, the Commission is aiming to have a fully functional eCall service in place throughout the EU (as well as Iceland, Norway and Switzerland) by 2015.
ACEA welcomed life-saving eCall proposal
The European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA) said it welcomed the legislative proposal on eCall published by the European Commission, and calls on all stakeholders to work together to deliver safe, affordable motoring on Europe’s roads.
“eCall has the potential to save lives by shortening reaction time, enabling emergency services to respond as rapidly as possible within the ‘golden hour’ after an accident,” stated ACEA Secretary General, Ivan Hodac.
The Association said that iIn August 2004, it became one of the first signatories of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on eCall, and has actively participated in developing effective solutions for pan-European 112 eCall.
ACEA said that to make the adoption of eCall cost-effective, it hoped for adaptable solutions based on technology-neutral legislative requirements, permitting embedded mobile phone-based and third-party solutions.
“The automobile industry is very concerned that the proposed October 2015 entry into force does not respect the 36 month lead-time that the industry will need to implement the technical adaptations, as recommended in CARS 2020,” stated Mr Hodac. “Also, considering the member states’ requirement for working infrastructure to be in place, the time needed for legislative procedure and the need to assess the technical and legal challenges, this target date is highly ambitious.”