As of 31 March 2018, all new car and light van models sold in the EU have to be fitted with eCall devices that automatically alert rescue services in the event of an accident, sending their position.

The aim of the system is to reduce the emergency response time for road accidents and to save lives.

eCall is activated automatically as soon as in-vehicle sensors detect a serious crash. Once activated, the system dials the European emergency number 112 and establishes a telephone link to the appropriate emergency call centre. An eCall can also be triggered manually by pushing a button in the car, for example by a witness to a serious accident.

Leveraging EU global navigation satellite systems, the system sends the time of incident, the accurate position of the crashed vehicle and the direction of travel to the emergency services, enabling the emergency responders to get to the accident site faster.

It is estimated that eCall can speed up emergency response times by 40 percent in urban areas and 50 percent in the countryside and can reduce the number of fatalities by at least 4 percent and the number of severe injuries by 6 percent.

The estimated cost of eCall devices of less than EUR 100 per vehicle at the date of entry into force of the proposed regulation.

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