Brussels, 11 December 2006
"We urgently need to get eCall back on track," said Viviane Reding, EU Commissioner for Information Society and Media. "We have the technology. Now we need Member States and industry to move up a gear and help us make Europe's roads safer sooner rather than later."
The initial 2005 Commission-industry agreement contained a framework for rolling-out eCall in Europe (see IP/05/134 and IP/05/1137), targeting Member States which had to invest in emergency rescue service infrastructure. The Commission also agreed to monitor progress closely, and to take further action if eCall deployment was endangered.
As eCall is based on the single European emergency number 112 and its location-enhancement, E112, their implementation was also followed by the Commission.
This led to serious concerns. While the Commission has taken several measures supporting eCall deployment and standardisation, and some Member States have already started eCall deployment, many are not on track with the necessary infrastructure. Industry has already reacted with a new deployment timetable of 2010 instead of 2009.
The Commission's response is a new Communication (adopted on 23 November), "Bringing eCall back on track – Action Plan". It presents two actions that are crucial for making eCall a reality:
The Commission will provide further assistance by working on privacy and standardisation, and through field tests and public awareness campaigns, as part of the Intelligent Car initiative within the Commission's i2010 strategy - a European Information Society for growth and jobs (see IP/06/191 and IP/06/1271).
The Commission and car industry agreed in February 2005 on an action plan aimed at introducing eCall in all new vehicles from 2009 (see MEMO/05/363). It is estimated that eCall will save up to 2,500 fatalities each year in EU-25 when fully deployed. 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 and report the exact location. An eCall may be triggered automatically, or manually, by someone in the vehicle. Accurate location information will drastically cut emergency response time, save lives and reduce the severity of the injuries.
list of Member States, organisations and companies that so far have signed the eC