Road Safety News
 

EU agrees date for ‘eCall’ implementation

Tuesday 9th December 2014

The European Parliament and EU member states have agreed on mandatory installation of ‘eCall’, a system for sending automated emergency calls from cars in the event of a crash, by 2018.

Under the agreement all new models of car launched in the EU from 31 March 2018 will have to be fitted with the system. Separate legislation, which has already been agreed, requires member states to put in place the infrastructure to handle eCalls.

The European Transport Safety Council (ETSC) points to research which shows that, with eCall, emergency service response time will be cut by around 50% in rural areas and 40% in urban areas. 

And a German study, "STORM" (Stuttgart Transport Operation by Regional Management), showed almost 50% rescue time improvement in rural areas, with a net gain of around 10 minutes.

Antonio Avenoso, executive director of the ETSC, said: “Getting emergency services to the scene of a crash quickly is crucial to preventing deaths. So this technology will save lives.

“However, it’s regrettable that it will be several years before we see all new cars fitted with the system and that other vehicles aren’t covered by the legislation yet. These are missed opportunities to extend the safety benefits further, with little or no justification.”

Following the political agreement reached last week, the rules are now subject to formal votes in the European Parliament plenary and by all EU member states, probably by March 2015.

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If you mean by 'civil liberties'- rules and regulations to be adhered to in the interests of safety, well yes, you're right Terry, they're inter-woven - you can't get away from it - but what is your point?
Hugh Jones, Cheshire

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We all know the benefits of wearing a seatbelt, but wearing one does not prevent an accident! It is no longer an offence to commit suicide, so if I wish to run the risk of injury in a car, why should I be prosecuted? Hence civil liberties and safety are inter-woven Hugh, even on a "road safety forum".
Terry Hudson, Kent

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-2

Sounds like the product of a vivid imagination and more than 'a little paranoia' Derek.
I don't think people are that bothered about any sinister connotations and would take the news item at face value.
Hugh Jones, Cheshire

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-1

A road safety forum it is, and as such is prey to any advances in technology which might supply data to all and sundry in the insurance and legislative marketplace as road safety feeds the surveillance/security industry. In turn the industry keeps the topic ‘hot’, and thereby begins to encroach on civil liberties to the detriment of individuals privacy. Can one not help feeling a little paranoia setting in?
Derek Reynolds, Salop.

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+2

Do I detect a trace of paranoia and libertarianism creeping in to what is, strictly speaking, a road safety forum?
Hugh Jones, Cheshire

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Sometimes I am shocked at the naivety of some of your 'informed' readers. Billions of Euros have been spent on the Galileo GPS system and the only way the EU is going to claw the money back, is through road tolling through-out the whole of the EU.

Just a few simple searches on the internet will see that the EU has been banging on about road pricing for years (Directive 2004/52EC). Introducing it via some clandestine 'safety' item is a good way to start. We have never lived in a more controlled, spied upon society in our history and anybody that thinks road tolling, speed detection etc is not the eventual aim, must be in cuckoo land!

If you think this is a good idea, why not make it just an optional extra, see if your MEP agrees?
Terry Hudson, Kent

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+2

Imagine having a device in your car which will be able to track wherever you go. To tell your speed and acceleration. At any time it could turn on a mike and listen to your conversation, and even intervene with spoken instructions. It maybe could even identify who you are travelling with and where you stop. And what is more, this could all be monitored and controlled from some organisation in another country.

What's that? You say its already happening. And most of us already have such devices and have personally approved the use of such functionality. And they are called Smart Phones, and the functionality is in the operating system and apps! Well, well, well!
Rod King, 20's Plenty for Us

Agree (9) | Disagree (2)
+7

You're quite right, Steve. Much improved collision reporting will be a genuine benefit of eCall but freedom and privacy concerns are very real. For instance, are people aware that eCall incorporates a microphone so that the emergency services can ask if the occupants are ok after a crash? This means that the government will be able to listen in on all our conversations as we travel. Useful to identify terrorists and criminals but, if misused or hacked, it could result in a scandal that would make phone-hacking seem utterly trivial by comparison!
Dave Finney, Slough

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+3

Presumably this technology will lead to an increase in reported injuries resulting from road traffic accidents - at the present time it is believed may incidents go unreported.
Steve Johnson, UK

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+11

The personal liberties argument was raised over seatbelts and motorcycle helmets. The article is informative and the responses show viewers to this website as informed people.
I looked into this some time ago and agree it has the potential for road pricing and all the other activities stated that the authorities will do. Apparently they will also be able to identify cloned vehicles as it is real time data. My advice for those who wish to stay under the radar is to buy before the proposed date and keep the vehicle running. My old 2CV, albiet with a new roof, should run for 20 or more years if well looked after. Probably still going after me!
Peter Westminster.

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+11

Having studied the EU for thousands of hours since Maastricht, I am with Paul on this one. As it happens I was one of what the Telegraph in 1998 called "a small group of concerned individuals" who lifted the stone hiding Corpus Juris, the EU's plan to impose the Continent's Napoleonic legal system, devoid of Habeas Corpus, jury trial, lay magistrates and many fundamental freedoms we have had for centuries. The EU Arrest Warrant has already ended Habeas Corpus and worse is to come. So Nick - I promise you that however outlandish criticism of the EU and its objectives might seem, the truth is always worse.

Including electronic surveillance of all road vehicles, including disabling engines whenever the EU thinks it necessary,

Aside from all that there is the question of benefit to cost ratio - when estimates of the former will have been skewed to be as high as possible and of the latter to be as low as possible. And even then they predict only 1.38:1, and to a ludicrous 3 significant figure accuracy? No businessman in his right mind would agree such a project, any more than he would agree ripping up and replacing hundreds of miles of motorway central barriers in the hope of preventing that very very rare problem of a HGV rolling over one.
Idris Francis Fight Back With Facts Petersfield

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+9

A very comprehensive report indeed, but it doesn't tell us what the expected false positive or 'cry wolf' rate will be. It does go on however about potential liability for these events and notes the extreme difficulty manufacturers will have in setting the tripping point, but does not provide any predicted figures.

I was involved with this project quite early on and even back then it was a given that a high degree of mission creep would be inevitable. The understanding was that its use for safety would be only a minor part of its function and that the majority of its eventual use would be for command and control purposes. One of the more interesting ideas that was floated was the simplicity with which an enabled vehicle could be prevented from running should it exceed its service intervals!

A big concern even back then was the 'ownership' of the data that was generated by the e-call system. It was pointed out that the EU had to do whatever it took to own any data in order to prevent individuals from blocking its release. Without ownership the immense profit potential of the entire system would be fatally compromised.
Duncan MacKillop, Stratford on Avon

Agree (10) | Disagree (4)
+6

Here is a link to a very detailed report into the effectiveness of eCall. It was used to determine the policy stance taken by the EC.

http://www.imobilitysupport.eu/library/ecall/ecall-implementation-platform/related-studies/1170-ecall-final-report/file

Cost benefit ratio by 2030 is calculated as 1.38 for mandatory introduction of eCall.
Matt Staton, Cambridgeshire

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-2

Why restrict eCall to vehicles, why not individuals through transplants beneath the skin or intravenously? Such are the advances (?) being made. 200 lives saved? Where is the proof? Or is this some NGO opinion? So many questions, not many answers.
Derek Reynolds, Salop.

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+8

There was an incident in Leicester recently where a vehicle left the ring road, went down an embankment and was not found for four days. See link http://www.leicestermercury.co.uk/Leicestershire-police-criticised-failure-victim/story-13502977-detail/story.html

The driver actually got out of the car before dying. I have no doubt that this technology would have helped on this occasion and I’m also sure that there are other examples around the country.

I have a Ford and this technology is inbuilt, I ensure that my phone is now switched on when I drive. My understanding is that when it dials, having recognised a situation, I can cancel the call if I do not want the emergency services to attend. Each to their own but for me it’s an easy decision.
Mike Wilson, Leicestershire

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+2

I note that Claire Perry told Transcom that eCall would cost the UK £370 million to implement and is therefore "not cost effective."
Paul Biggs, Staffodshire

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+5

Paul (4 posts below):
Thanks for the web link - the piece does give a nice overview of the potential applications for Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) which are used by eCall. We could all 'cherry pick' applications to support a point we are trying to make, but rather than that it would be good for people to read the piece which gives a balanced view. For ease, here is the link Paul provided:
http://ec.europa.eu/enterprise/policies/satnav/galileo/applications/road/index_en.htm
Nick Rawlings, editor, Road Safety News

Agree (12) | Disagree (3)
+9

Welcome to the surveillance society where we are all treated as suspects. When did we vote for that? Privacy is a fundamental human right. The 200 lives saved is an EU wide guessed figure - what evidence is there that emergency services in the UK don't get to the scene of a crash quickly as possible already, given restraints such as ambulance availability and congestion? 90% of ambulance call outs are for reasons other than road crashes.
Paul Biggs, Staffodshire

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EuroNCAP suggest the fitment of eCall across the fleet could prevent 200 deaths per year across Europe. That's quite clearly NOT just an "EU agenda to get Telematics into cars for the sole purpose of road pricing..."

What is being trialled in the more advanced eCall systems is the ability for the vehicle to transmit accelerometer readings and information on seat occupancy and restraint system deployment to the emergency services so they have a better understanding of the situation they will arrive at and can prepare for the likely number of casualties and injury severity en route rather than on-scene.
Matt Staton, Cambridgeshire

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-3

eCall is an excellent surveillance tool. The authorities will be able to track vehicles in real time and examine all previous journeys in detail. This could allow the authorities to:

track terrorists in real time.
Investigate criminal activity
Provide evidence to prosecute drug gangs.
Locate stolen cars
Prosecute every speed and parking infringement
Check parent addresses of school children
Assist crash investigation and validity of insurance claims

And eCall may, along with a host of other enforcement activities, also save lives by reducing emergency response times.
Dave Finney, Slough

Agree (10) | Disagree (7)
+3

Nick:
It is a stated aim of the EU to introduce road pricing via GPS/Galileo (and a stated desire of LiBLaBCon) - for which they require a GPS box in vehicles. If the EU state categorically that 'eCall' will NEVER be used for any other purpose then I will be proved wrong. The sad thing is that I know I will be proved correct.

e.g. http://ec.europa.eu/enterprise/policies/satnav/galileo/applications/road/index_en.htm
Paul Biggs, Staffodshire

Agree (13) | Disagree (14)
-1

Paul
You say: "eCall represents nothing more than the EU agenda to get Telematics into cars for the sole purpose of road pricing".

Do you have proof to back up this statement, or is it simply your personal view?
Nick Rawlings, editor, Road Safety News

Agree (15) | Disagree (7)
+8

'eCall' is a 'red-herring' and represents nothing more than the EU agenda to get Telematics into cars for the sole purpose of road pricing via Galileo GPS. We get along fine without 'eCall' in the UK now - only 4% had this fitted voluntarily when offered as an option. The undemocratic EU will now make sure the other 96% get it and pay for it whether they want to or not.
Paul Biggs, Staffodshire

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-5

I have Ford Emergency Assist on my car. Should the driver/passenger air-bag deploy, my phone (when connected via the Bluetooth) alerts the emergency services. If I do not/cannot talk to them they send help. If I can answer they ask what has happened and provide any assistance I require (just give advice and/or send help) I feel it is a good piece of technology to have and I am sure in the coming years things will improve even more.

I also have the Real Rider app on my phone for use when I am riding my motorcycle. The app uses a very similar technology and if the system 'thinks' I have had a crash calls are made to check my condition etc. While none of this is perfect it could help in some situations.
Steve, London

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+6

A member of a colleague’s family managed this weekend to drive her car through a hedge and into a field. Her insurers had fitted a telematics system to her car. The system recognised the incident as a crash and alerted the emergency services. Help was with the driver very quickly. This sounds like a winner to me.
David Clark, North Yorkshire

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+4

It's a good idea obviously, but does it mean a 'phone call to the emergency services will not be necessary? I only ask because at present, valuable life-saving advice can be given over the 'phone by the ambulance service operator to the caller at the scene, pending the arrival of paramedics.
Hugh Jones, Cheshire

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0