Plans to put a life-saving ‘Dashboard Angel’ in every new car were given the green light this week thanks to Labour MEPs and their political group in the European Parliament, which led on the proposal.
Under the new rules, car manufacturers will be required to install an on-board ‘E-Call’ system in new cars, which will automatically dial the emergency services in the event of a serious accident. The system is designed to work with the European-wide 112 emergency services number, ensuring drivers are protected when travelling abroad.
Catherine Stihler MEP, vice-chair of the European Parliament’s internal market committee, and Labour’s European spokesperson on consumer protection issues, said:
“Road safety concerns us all. Knowing that if you are in a serious accident emergency services will be automatically contacted and on their way to help can give all drivers and passengers across the European Union peace of mind and reassurance for families travelling abroad.
“ECall is an effective tool which will help reduce road deaths and save lives across the UK and the EU. As we see technology develop, cars are amongst our everyday objects in which technology will have a direct and important impact. E-call is one of the latest examples of this transformation.”
Lucy Anderson MEP, Labour’s European spokesperson on transport and tourism, added:
“Many people in the UK travel around Europe on business or on holiday, and we also have a large number of visitors from abroad on our roads every year. When accidents occur, if emergency services cannot be alerted quickly because of language difficulties or the inability of car occupants to call for help, the resulting delays can potentially be fatal.
“The E-Call system will allow the emergency services to get to accident scenes faster and could save thousands of lives each year. It is very disappointing the Tories and UKIP in the European Parliament have been opposing this measure, showing yet again they do not take road safety seriously.”
The new rules ensure the e-Call system is dormant until activated in the event of an accident. Vehicles equipped with eCall are not traceable and are not subject to any constant tracking. The set of data sent by the in-vehicle eCall system includes the minimum information required for the appropriate handling of emergency calls."