19 March 2014
Commission Vice-President Siim Kallas welcomed the agreement today between the European Parliament and the Council on establishing emergency call response centres for the handling of 112 eCalls. The eCall system automatically dials 112 - Europe's single emergency number - in the event of a serious accident.
Vice-President Kallas said: "Today, we are starting the countdown for eCall, so that this service is not a privilege for a few, but will improve safety for all road users in the EU. eCall will be a major asset in our struggle to cut by half the number of road fatalities by 2020".
It is estimated that 112 eCall can speed up emergency response times by 40% in urban areas and 50% in the countryside and can reduce the number of fatalities by at least 4% and the number of severe injuries by 6%. eCall is a low-cost solution. Because it is only activated in the event of a serious accident, driver behaviour cannot be tracked during normal use of the car.
The agreement between Parliament and Council is an important step in the EU road safety strategy to reduce road fatalities and serious injuries. It ensures that once cars equipped with eCall will be on the road, the necessary infrastructure will be ready to handle the calls and to rescue drivers and passengers more quickly throughout the European Union. This agreement still needs to be approved by a vote in both institutions.
In June 2013, the Commission proposed as part of the eCall initiative a Decision to ensure the deployment of the necessary infrastructure for the proper receipt and handling of the 112 eCalls.
The agreement reached provides for
- the deployment, at least 6 months before the date of application of the Regulation concerning the mandatory fitting of the eCall device in vehicles (personal cars and commercial light vehicles), of the eCall infrastructure required for the handling of all eCalls on the EU territory, with a final deadline for the deployment set at October 1, 2017.
- the right of each Member State to organise its emergency services in the way most cost effective and appropriate to its needs, including the right to let private organisations recognised by the Member State deal with the receipt and handling of eCalls, in accordance with the specifications laid down by Delegated Regulation (EU) No 305/2013.
- 112 eCalls handling free of charge for the users.