From 2015, all new cars sold in the EU should be able to dial emergency services when they are involved in a serious accident, under new rules to be voted on by the internal market committee on 11 February.

How it will work: a damaged car will make a 112 emergency call (eCall) as soon as its sensors (e.g. airbag sensors) register a crash. It could also be activated manually by pushing a special button in a car. The system will automatically transmit data about location and time of a crash to the nearest emergency response centre.

“The eCall system could save up to 2,500 lives a year and that is to me quite a decisive argument for the introduction of this public emergency call service across the EU,” said Olga Sehnalová, a Czech member of the S&D group who is responsible for steering the proposal through Parliament together with Philippe De Backer. 

Member states will have to upgrade their infrastructure so that eCalls are efficiently passed on to emergency services.

Currently, only 0.7% of all passenger vehicles in the EU are equipped with automatic emergency call systems. The eCall device is estimated to cost less than €100 per new car to install.

The plenary vote is scheduled for 26 February.

REF. : 20120615STO46957