On 8 September 2011 the European Commission adopted a Recommendation asking Members States to ensure that mobile phone network operators upgrade their infrastructure so that 112 emergency calls can be automatically generated by cars (eCalls).

The Commission wants the life-saving eCall system to be fitted to all new models of cars and light vehicles by 2015. eCall automatically dials Europe’s single emergency number 112 in the event of a serious accident and communicates the vehicle’s location to the emergency services. People injured in an accident do not always have the reflex or the physical ability to call emergency services immediately. eCall devices address this problem by alerting emergency services immediately even if the driver or passenger is unconscious or otherwise unable to call. The technology speeds up the arrival of emergency teams by an estimated 40% in urban areas and 50% in rural areas. Once widely deployed eCall will save several hundred lives in Europe every year and reduce the severity of injuries and trauma in tens of thousands of cases.

The Recommendation urges every Member State to ensure that mobile operators treat calls from eCall devices like other 112 calls – i.e. give priority to them and do not charge for them. The Recommendation also indicates that Member States should ensure that mobile operators put in place systems to identify eCalls so that they can be routed to an emergency service call centre equipped to handle them.

The eCall Recommendation adopted by the European Commission can be found here.

Read the European Commission Press Release

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Original Publication Date: Tue 13 Sep 2011