The European Parliament voted in favour of eCall regulation which requires all new cars be equipped with eCall technology from April 2018. In the event of a serious accident, eCall automatically dials 112 – Europe’s single emergency number.
eCall is an initiative with the purpose to bring rapid assistance to motorists involved in a collision anywhere in the European Union. eCall communicates the vehicle’s exact location to emergency services, the time of incident and the direction of travel (most important on motorways), even if the driver is unconscious or unable to make a phone call. An eCall can also be triggered manually by pushing a button in the car, for example by a witness of a serious accident. As soon as the eCall sensors register a severe impact on a vehicle or a call is initiated manually, the system automatically dials the pan European 112 emergency voice call number and calls the relevant Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP). A Minimum Set of Data (MSD) of 140 bytes is transmitted as part of the call. This data contains the exact geographic location of the vehicle, the direction of travel, the triggering mode (automatic or manual), the Vehicle Identification Number and other information to enable the emergency response teams to quickly locate and provide medical and other life-saving assistance to the accident victims. Information only leaves the car in the event of a severe accident and is not stored any longer than necessary.
eCall cuts emergency services response time. It goes down to 50% in the countryside and 60% in built-up areas. The quicker response will save hundreds of lives in the EU every year. The severity of injuries will be considerably reduced in tens of thousands of cases. You can also make an eCall by pushing a button inside the car. Witnessing an accident, you can thus report it and automatically give the precise location. As eCall normally ‘sleeps’, it does not allow vehicle tracking outside emergencies.
The European Commission proposed the eCall regulation in June 2013. The EU supported the development of eCall through first the eMerge project and later its deployment through the HeERO that developed the pan-European in-vehicle emergency call service – “eCall” – based on 112, the common European Emergency number. During four years (HeERO phase 1 in 2011-2013 & HeERO phase 2 in 2013-2014), 15 countries carried out the start-up of an interoperable and harmonized emergency call system.