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Brussels, 14 September 2005

Cars will dial 112 - but will anyone answer? Commission urges Member States to act on eCall

Industry is well on the way to enabling your car to call the emergency services, but infrastructure upgrades needed to handle the call are way behind schedule, says the European Commission in a Communication today. All new cars in Europe are to be equipped with automatic emergency call (eCall) technology as soon as 2009, under an action plan agreed by the Commission and industry in February this year.

“I am generally pleased with the progress of eCall, in particular on the industry side. However, if EU Member States don’t react, and fail to invest in the necessary emergency service infrastructure, we shall face a delay in the introduction of eCall technology”, said Information Society and Media Commissioner Viviane Reding today at the International Motor Show in Frankfurt, where eCall and other e-safety technology is on display.

In the event of a crash, eCall technology will call the emergency services – which can be reached throughout Europe under the single European emergency number 112 – at a “Public Service Answering Point” (PSAP), and report your exact location. An eCall may be triggered automatically, or manually, by someone in the vehicle. Accurate location information will drastically cut emergency response time, thus saving lives and reducing the severity of the injuries. The Commission and the automotive industry agreed in February this year on an action plan aiming at introducing eCall in all new vehicles starting from 2009 (see IP/05/134).

Due to the slow progress in the Member States, the Commission has today adopted a new Communication on eCall. The “Bringing eCall to the Citizens” Communication strongly urges the national and regional governments to act and to invest in the necessary emergency care for eCall, with the view to a pan-European launch in 2009, and to promote eCall at national and international fora. The Communication provides the road map for the full-scale roll-out of eCall.

At the International Motor Show in Frankfurt, Commissioner Reding also met project managers of PReVENT, a project co-funded by the European automotive industry and the European Commission to develop and demonstrate preventive road safety applications and technologies. The total investment into PReVENT’s is estimated at €55 million, of which the Commission is contributing €29.8 million. It has 55 partners, including industry (12 car manufacturers and 16 parts suppliers) public authorities and R&D institutes.

Commissioner Reding also launched in Frankfurt the “Intelligent Car” project, one of the flagship projects of the European Commmission’s i2010 initiative, which aims to harness Information and Communication Technologies to enhance economic growth and employment in Europe.
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