The UK has very good safety records, but this system will ensure drivers can be reassured that wherever they travel within the EU, emergency services will be swiftly dispatched should they have the misfortune of being involved in a serious accident.
eCall is activated automatically as soon as in-vehicle sensors detect a serious crash. Saving valuable time should the driver be rendered unconscious or have no means to call for assistance.
The system dials the European emergency number 112, establishes a telephone link to the appropriate emergency call centre and sends details of the accident to the rescue services, including the time of incident, the accurate position of the crashed vehicle and the direction of travel (ie important on motorways and in tunnels).
An eCall can also be triggered manually by pushing a button in the car, say for example by a witness to a serious accident.
New models of passenger cars and light duty vehicles sold on the EU market will have to be equipped with the in-vehicle system by 1 September 2015.
The cost of in-vehicles devices are falling but current systems are on sale for around €50 (£43).
Drivers using other emergency call systems accepted by their emergency services can continue to do so, as long as there is an automatic switch to the 112 eCall in case their system fails.
Saving time - saving lives
It is estimated the e-Call system will speed up emergency response times by 40% in urban areas and by 50% on rural roads.
In 2012, around 28,000 people were killed and more than 1.5 million injured on EU roads. In addition to the tragic loss of life, the economic cost to society is around €130 billion (£111bn) every year.
Furthermore, e-Call will have a significant impact on reducing road congestion caused by traffic accidents and on reducing secondary accidents, together with the associated costs.