Internal Market Commission backs eCall system for cars

The decision follows a vote in December in the transport committee to approve legislation for member states to develop the technical infrastructure for handling calls from vehicles that have crashed.

The in-vehicle eCall system uses 112 emergency call technology to alert the emergency services to serious road accidents automatically. Member states will have to upgrade their infrastructure so that eCalls are efficiently passed on to emergency services.

The Committee has added some specifications to the Commission’s proposal. The e-eCall in-vehicule system is considered a public service so is free of charge; that eCall equipped vehicles will not be subjected to constant tracking, the system only kicks in when triggered by an accident. The MEPs also included the fact that the Commission should investigate whether to extend eCall to other vehicles, such as buses, coaches or truck, by 2018.

The October 2015 deadline for installing eCall devices in new model cars and light vans was set by the European Commission, acting on Parliament’s request in a resolution voted in July 2012. However, to meet the industry’s request for more time to develop and test the system, MEPs left open a possibility to postpone this deadline.

The vote in plenary, scheduled in February 2014 will see the piece of legislation transmitted to the Council. When adopted, it will give the green light for a pan-European 'type approval' method to ensure the devices meet the necessary technical standards.

In June 2012, the European Parliament´s internal market and transport committees adopted a non-binding resolution calling for all new cars to be fitted with eCall devices to alert rescue services in case of crashes by 2015. In June 2013, the European Commission tabled two legislative proposal to implement the eCall devise.