Today the eCall Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed by Latvia. Uldis Augulis, Latvian Minister of Transport, signed the eCall MoU in the presence of Zoran Stancic, Deputy Director-General, European Commission, Information Society and Media Directorate General. Latvia is the 21st Member State to sign the eCall MoU. By its signature, Latvia commits itself to support the timely implementation of eCall, the pan-European accident notification system. In the event of a serious car accident, the eCall system automatically dials 112 and calls the nearest emergency centre. It thus informs the rescue services about the accident and transmits the exact location of the accident scene to them.

"We are pleased that Latvia comes on board today and gives its support to the deployment of eCall, as this technology will save hundreds of lives per year thanks to the simple fact that the rescue teams will arrive much quicker at the crash site", said Deputy DG Stancic at the signature event. "The European Commission is committed to the fastest eCall deployment possible. I call on the few missing Member States to take the Latvian example and follow suit with their signature", concluded Stancic.

Using the European emergency number 112, an eCall equipped car automatically calls the nearest emergency centre if it has a serious accident. Even if no car occupant can speak any more due to the accident, the system transmits the precise location of the crash site to the centre. This knowledge decreases the rescue teams' reaction time by 50% in rural and by 40% in built-up areas. Several hundred lives will be saved in the European Union every year, and 15% of all severe injuries mitigated, when all cars are equipped with eCall.

Here are some photos of the signing ceremony.

Please take a look at the press release of the Latvian Transport Ministry (in Latvian).