Strasbourg comment: eCall

A mandatory eCall system will save lives and prevent traffic problems, according to rapporteur Philippe de Backer.

By Philippe De Backer

28 Feb 2014

I welcome the vote of the European parliament, supporting the mandatory introduction of the 112 eCall system. Today only 0.7 per cent of all cars in the EU are equipped with a private eCall system, which shows that the voluntary approach the commission took earlier did not work. An obligation to manufacturers to equip all new cars with eCall will save lives.

This is necessary as there are still too many deaths on the European roads, 28,000 in 2012 according to Eurostat, so action is needed. Besides prevention, it is also necessary to take action when accidents do happen. And this is where eCall comes in. When a crash occurs, an automatic call is made to the emergency services, informing them of the location of the crash. This will lead to a faster intervention by the emergency services. Considering that 50 per cent of deaths from car accidents happen in the first minutes, the potential time gain from such a device is crucial for saving lives and decreasing the risk of severe injuries. Accidents can also cause huge traffic problems. A faster appearance by the emergency services will lead to a quicker clearing of the roads, and therefore reduce traffic jams. This will therefore benefit all road users.

The report, as voted in plenary this week, ensures that the privacy of the driver is also protected. The eCall system will be dormant, only sending out a signal when a severe crash occurs, or when item is manually triggered. And manufacturers are obliged to inform their clients about all issues regarding the use of their personal data. I believe this strikes a good balance between road safety and the privacy of the driver.

Now the negotiations with the member states will start and I hope we can reach a good agreement. The vote results provides a strong signal that parliament wants the entry of the eCall legislation into force as soon as possible.


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