Starting this month, all new cars sold in the European Union will be equipped with the eCall technology — an automatic emergency call system.
The new technology automatically communicates necessary information to the nearest emergency service in the event of an accident, even if the driver is unconscious. The exact location of the vehicle, as well as the time of the accident and the physical state of the driver, is among the information sent to medical services.
Witnesses can also report an accident to the emergency services with the push of a button.
The European Commission, who proposed the project in June 2013 and approved it in April 2015, hopes the system will save hundreds of lives and cut the response time of medical services.
According to the Commission, eCall reduces emergency services response time to “50% in the countryside and 60% in urban areas.”
Since the system is normally in “sleeping mode” it does not track vehicles outside of emergency situations.
The first country to adopt eCall was Slovenia in 2016.
“ECall is a device inserted into a car, which, in the event of an accident detects the change in speed and whether the airbag has been inflated. It sends data to emergency services, like the vehicle’s exact location, the direction the car was travelling in (which is important on a motorway, for example), how many passengers were on board, and what kind of fuel the car runs on,” Bostjan Tavca, head of Slovenia’s emergency response centre, told Euronews in 2016.
According to Eurostat data, the number of deaths in motorway accidents in the EU fell to 43% between 2005 and 2015.