The European Parliament has backed plans for all new cars and vans in the EU to be fitted with automated emergency call devices (eCall), but has opened the door to postponing its introduction beyond the proposed deadline of October 2015.
The vote on ‘eCall’ gives a green light for a pan-European ‘type approval’ method to ensure the devices meet the necessary technical standards. The decision follows a vote in December to approve legislation for member states to develop the technical infrastructure for handling calls from crashed vehicles.
The European Transport Safety Council (ETSC) is lobbying for the EU to stick to the original deadline of October 2015. It has published a position paper on eCall and points to research which shows that with eCall emergency service response time would be cut by 50% in rural areas and 40% in urban areas.
Antonio Avenoso, executive director of the ETSC, said: "After a serious crash, the time taken for emergency services to reach you can mean the difference between life and death. This system has the potential to save many lives because it will enable the emergency services to respond quicker.
"It’s now crucial that (European) Parliament negotiators support the strongest possible implementation of the technology during negotiations with member states on the final deal, and ensure these life-saving devices are in all new types of car and van from the end of next year."