COMPULSORY SELF-HELP: eCall emergency assistance devices will be compulsory in new vehicles in Europe from 2018. Could the life-saving system work in SA? Image: AFP / Carl de Souza
STRASBOURG, France - Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats Euro MP Olga Sehnalova is leading a cross-party discussion to equip new cars with an emergency system which could potentially save hundreds of lives.
From March 31 2018 all new cars and light commercial vehicles must be equipped with an eCall emergency device that can automatically dial the European 112 emergency number should the host vehicle crash.
The incident's severity and satnav position will go instantly to emergency services and so dramatically reduce assistance response times.
'eCALL WILL SAVE LIVES'
Sehnalova said: “The eCall system will save lives afater severe crashes. Emergency services can arrive faster and more efficiently.”
“The system triggerswhen a crash happens. Minimum data – only the information needed for the fast response of rescue services – is sent to the emergency services. There is no constant tracking of the vehicle. The only purpose of this system is as a rescue device.
“March 31 2018 is the date from which all new of cars will have this.”
VIDEO: How eCall will work
After a crash eCall will contact emergency services. Vehicle occupants will be able to communicate with a trained operator as essential data about the crash is transmitted - including time, location and vehicle identification.
WHAT ABOUT PUBLIC TRANSPORT?
Zita Gurmai, S&D group negotiator for the transport committee, added: "It is crucial that all EU countries upgrade their public safety answering point infrastructure by October 2015 to allow eCalls to be handled properly.
"We hope to extend the system to other vehicles - trucks, buses, coaches and agricultural vehicles."
Do you think South African vehicles should be equipped with a similar emergency device? Would the eCall system work in SA? Email us and we'll publish your thoughts on Wheels24.