All new cars in Europe will have to be equipped with an eCall emergency device from 31 March 2018, the EU Parliament has voted.
The device will automatically dial the 112 emergency number in the event of an accident, sending details of the accident to emergency services. This will dramatically decrease response times, it is hoped. The ruling will apply to passenger cars and light commercial vehicles.
The European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA) welcomed the decision “This decision brings Europe one step closer to making operational a system we have been advocating since 2004,” said Mr Erik Jonnaert, ACEA Secretary General.
Privacy concerns have been raised about the system’s automatic operation. “Vehicle manufacturers are committed to protecting their customers’ privacy. However, at the end of the day, we cannot forget that the primary purpose of eCall is safety. The industry feels that the final text strikes a good balance between saving lives and protecting data,” said Jonnaert.
GM’s OnStar service provides a similar service in North America.