eCall systems

On 13 June 2013, the European Commission published two proposals on eCall systems, automatic emergency call systems for motor vehicles:

  • A proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council concerning type-approval requirements for the deployment of the eCall in-vehicle system and amending Directive 2007/46/EC,
  • A proposal for a Decision of the European Parliament and of the Council on the deployment of the interoperable EU-wide eCall.

The aim of these legal instruments is to ensure that all new vehicles will be equipped with adequate eCall systems connected to call response centres in case of accidents. Even when the driver is injured and unable to speak, a set of data is sent to emergency centres with the localisation of the car.

The proposal for a Decision was formally adopted on 8 May 2014 and published in the Official Journal on 3 June 2014. eCall reception centres will be implemented by the EU Member States by 1 October 2017 at the latest. With the new mechanism, 112 emergency numbers are automatically contacted when there is a road accident. According to the European Commission, this tool could save 2,500 lives in the European Union every year.

The Regulation, which was adopted on 29 April 2015 and published in the Official Journal on 19 May 2015, will require all new vehicles, from March 2018, to be equipped with the eCall system. “Public eCall system” works with the 112 number, but other systems have already been proposed, which brings a private assistance company into the chain (the call then no longer goes directly to the emergency services centre but to the service provider). Often, in conjunction with partners, these operators also offer services such as breakdown, towing and after care. This raises the question of the role of intermediaries in this context and also the respect of privacy and the protection of data.

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