Newstalk
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09.44 30 Mar 2018


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A new EU-wide emergency call system is to be fitted on all new car models manufactured from March 31st.

eCall will see a call made to emergency services in the event of an accident.

It is activated automatically as soon as in-vehicle sensors and/or processors (such as an airbag) detect a serious crash.

Once set off, the system dials the emergency number 112 and sends details of the accident to the rescue services - including the time of incident, the accurate position of the crashed vehicle and the direction of travel.

An eCall can also be triggered manually by pushing a button in the car - for example by a witness to a serious accident.

How eCall works | Image: iheero.eu

The European Commission says it is estimated eCall could speed up emergency response times by 40% in urban areas and 50% in the countryside.

It also says it could reduce the number of fatalities by at least 4% and the number of severe injuries by 6%.

Around 25,500 people lost their lives and 135,000 were seriously injured on EU roads in 2016.

The European Parliament voted to establish the eCall system back in 2014.

Irish MEP Brian Hayes says: "The eCall system will help to increase the safety of road users by significantly reducing the arrival time of rescue services in the event of a major accident, ensuring they are sufficiently prepared for the scale of operation that awaits them.

"Both member states and manufacturers have been given enough time to prepare infrastructure and technologies, so that the eCall will start to work immediately to deliver its major benefit - to increase the safety of citizens traveling anywhere in Europe".

However, the European Comission adds that eCall is not a black box. It does not record constantly the position of the vehicle, it records only a few data to determine the position and direction of the vehicle just before the crash.

It also cannot be used to monitor motorist's moves.

A SIM-card used to transmit the eCall data is dormant, and is only activated in case the vehicle has a serious accident.


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