All new cars must be fitted by 2015 with eCall devices to alert the rescue services automatically to road crashes through the public 112 emergency call system, MEPs stated in a resolution adopted jointly by the Internal Market and Transport Committees of the European Parliament yesterday.
“Our report sends a clear signal of the European Parliament’s support for the introduction of eCall,” said Internal Market co-rapporteur Olga Sehnalova. “It is my wish that it will serve as a model for a legislative proposal by the Commission in 2012,” she continued. Her counterpart from the Transport Committee, Dieter-Lebrecht Koch, gave a recent example of a road accident in Germany that was only spotted later, in a routine patrol by emergency services. “That is a strong message in support of eCalls,” he said.
According to announcement from Brussels, the resolution – adopted by 58 votes to four, with eight abstentions – regrets the delays in the voluntary deployment of eCall to date and the small proportion of cars fitted with it (only 0.4%) and urges the Commission to table legislation to make the eCall system mandatory by 2015.
According to estimates, the eCall system would save up to 2,500 lives a year and reduce the severity of injuries by 10 to 15%.
MEPs point out that the necessary technology is available and common EU-wide standards have been agreed. They have therefore called on the Commission to table legislation requiring the Member States to upgrade their emergency response services infrastructure so that it can handle eCalls by 2015.
Privacy, a concern for many, is assured, as the resolution stresses that the eCall service cannot be used to monitor a person’s movements or determine his or her location unless that person has been involved in an accident – the main purpose of the system being to improve incident management, the text adds.
The non-legislative resolution will be voted in plenary in Strasbourg in July. The Commission is expected to table a legislative proposal on eCall by the end of 2012.
19 June 2012
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