eCall: Emergency Call System for Euro Cars in 2018
Too Many Lives Lost
Car crashes are an unfortunately reality in our fast-paced world. They’re unpredictable, they happen at all hours, and they can take place anywhere for just about any reason. The time between the moment of impact and when first responders arrive on the scene to assess the situation and offer help is crucial. In those minutes, the life of a driver or passenger could be hanging in the balance.
With all of our other technical advancements, it would seem that cars could be programmed to call for the authorities and an ambulance the moment a car accident occurs. This could shave precious minutes off of emergency response time and help to limit the number of lives lost on the EU’s roads — 25,700 in 2014 alone. The good news for motorists all over Europe is that this very thing will become a reality sooner rather than later.
Automatic Call For Emergency Services
Starting in the spring of 2018, all new cars will be equipped with Emergency Call, or eCall, technology, as required by a new law that is currently working its way through the European Parliament. Using this system, in the event of a crash, the car would automatically use the 112 emergency telephone number to contact emergency services. Responders will know about accidents sooner and be able to get to those in need much faster.
Unlike some other car safety features, eCall will be free for all drivers to use. Whether you drive a basic subcompact or a fully loaded luxury car, you’ll have this feature on any car purchased after March 31, 2018. Some forward-thinking and safety-conscious car companies already have an emergency call system on their vehicles, and these essentially do what the eCall legislation is proposing. However, currently existing systems typically contact private third party services and therefore require a charge. As part of the eCall deal, the free and public eCall technology will always be available, no matter what other services are included with a given vehicle.
ECall Privacy Concerns Abated
Some drivers may have privacy concerns about the new eCall system. If it’s able to recognise when a car is in an accident, what other information might it be tracking (and saving)? While these concerns are valid, the legislation already addresses them properly.
The eCall system will not track any vehicle-specific information before a crash occurs. In the event of an accident, only very baseline data would be transmitted to emergency services, such as the make and model of the car, the time of the crash, and the specific location.
Steps To Implementation
The eCall requirement has overwhelming support among Europe’s lawmakers. It passed a vote from the European Commission quite easily. Next, it must be formally approved by each individual EU member state, and finally, it must pass a vote in the European Parliament. The approval process is has been wrapped up on 28 April 2015, giving automobile manufacturers until 2018 for their new vehicles to be compliant with the regulation.