New European vehicles are to be fitted with a device that automatically triggers a distress signal to the emergency services in the event of a road accident, according to a recent EU announcement.

The Council of the European Union said that the eCall system, which contacts the European-wide 112 emergency number if a vehicle is involved in a crash, will speed up the arrival of the emergency services, in turn reducing the number of injuries and fatalities in road accidents.

The new legislation is set to take force from 2018, when manufacturers will need to ensure that all new European models will include the technology.

The announcement comes at the same time as a new European Transport Safety Council (ETSC) report that states that new safety technologies can contribute to a reduced death toll on Europe’s roads.

The ETSC is calling for the EU to introduce the mandatory installation of seat belt reminder systems (SBR), intelligent speed assistance (ISA) and lane-departure warning systems (LDWS) in new vehicles.

According to the ETSC there were around 1 900 EU road deaths in 2013.

Original author: Alexia