All new cars sold in the European Union could be required to be fitted with a cellular wireless module to alert the emergency services in the event of an accident.
Members of the European Parliament have passed a non-binding resolution calling for all new vehicles to have integrated eCall devices that are automatically activated, or triggered by a pushing a special button in the vehicle. The system will then transmit data about location and time of a crash to the nearest emergency response centre.
According to EU estimates, the eCall system could save up to 2,500 lives a year and reduce the severity of injuries by 10 to 15 per cent. In 2009, around 35,000 people were killed and more than 1.5 million injured in about 1.15 million traffic accidents on roads across the EU.
EU Parliament spokesman Gediminas Vilkas told EurActiv the aim was to push the European Commission to represent a legislative proposal on eCall and then to have the member states to implement it. "The Commission has had a road safety strategy since 2003, and they have always said that there should be some kind of equal system in the member states, and it has not happened until now."
Jacob Bangsgaard, director-general at FIA Region, said: "The system's deployment in all new vehicles should offer European motorists the opportunity to choose additional services if they so wish, including breakdown assistance, traffic information, stolen vehicle tracking and pay-as-you-go insurance schemes."
Despite trials demonstrating that providing an open platform for eCall is technically feasible in a secure way, less than 1 per cent of cars are fitted with an eCall system. According to an EU Parliament statement an eCall device is estimated to cost less than €100 per new car to install.
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