eCall mandatory by 2018
On 28 April, the European Parliament decided that emergency call devices will have to be fitted to all new cars and light vans by 31 March 2018.
The eCall in-vehicle system uses 112 (or 999 in UK) emergency call technology to alert the emergency services to serious road accidents automatically - using GNSS and accelerometers or an emergency button.
The EU notes that this enables emergency services to decide immediately on the type and size of rescue operation needed, which in turn helps them to arrive faster, save lives, reduce the severity of injuries and cut the cost of traffic jams.
The Parliament's Rapporteur explains:
'Deploying the 112-based eCall in-vehicle emergency system across the EU will help to improve road safety in all 28 member states. The European Parliament has repeatedly stressed that reducing deaths and the severity of injuries on the roads is its priority. eCall as a public service, free of charge for all citizens, irrespective of the type of vehicle or its purchase price, will contribute to this common goal.'
Road accidents are reported to have taken 25,700 lives in the EU in 2014 - a death toll that the new devices could cut by an estimated 10% a year.
MEPs strengthened the draft law’s data protection clause to preclude tracking of eCall-equipped vehicles before an accident occurs. Under the new rules, the automatic call would give the emergency services only basic minimum data - such as the type of vehicle, fuel used, time of accident, precise location and the number of passengers.
The rules say eCall data gathered by emergency centres or their service partners must not be transferred to third parties without explicit consent of the person concerned. Manufacturers will also have to ensure that the eCall technology design permits full and permanent deletion of data gathered.
These new rules set out obligations for car manufacturers - separate rules, governing the infrastructure that EU Member States must put in place by 1 October 2017 to process eCalls, entered into to force on 30 June 2014.
MEPs also secured an obligation for the EC to assess, in the 3 years after spring 2018, whether eCall devices should be included in other vehicles, such as buses, coaches and trucks.
Parliament’s vote ends the EU legislative procedure.
The UK Transport Committee is reported to have been against eCall since its inception - believing it is a costly project that is unnecessary due to the sophistication of the UK’s emergency services.
Estimating the cost to the UK at £370 million, the Transport Minister is quoted as saying:
'The benefit of making eCall mandatory in all new cars does not justify the cost of implementing it . . we do not support the measure, because it is not cost-effective for us.'
Details from the links below . .