As of the end of March, 2018, all new cars and vans must have the eCall automatic emergency call system installed.
The calls from the system is free and has coverage throughout Europe. The system is activated automatically when the airbags are deployed, establishing a voice communication with the 112 Emergency Coordination Centre.
The call carries an indicator that clearly identifies that it is an eCall call, giving it the highest priority. This is, “One of its most important characteristics,” says Ana Blanco, deputy director at the DGT and co-chair of the eCall European Implementation Platform.
This call can also be generated manually by the driver or by one of the occupants of the vehicle, by simply pressing the SOS button carried by the vehicles equipped with the system.
The operator receives the information with the exact place where the incident occurred, the type of vehicle, with its license plate, make, model and type of fuel (if it is electric or petrol, for example), among others.
This is “essential data,” explains Blanco, “because they facilitate the work of the rescue services, which know from the start what equipment they should carry.”
According to the GMV consultancy, it is estimated that the eCall has the potential to save 2,500 lives a year in Europe when it is introduced in all vehicles, as well as reduce the severity of the consequences of those injured by traffic collisions between 10 and 15 %.
I do not have it, what do I do?
If your vehicle does not have an eCall device and you have an emergency, remember you can call 112. Calls to 112 are free, operate 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and allows for geo-location of the call. When you dial, the GSM network (Global System for mobile communications) passes the call to the nearest emergency centre. This service is accessible from any landline or mobile phone, even if the mobile is blocked or without entering the PIN number and without coverage. Moreover, the operators at the 112 Emergency Coordination Centre speak a variety of languages, including English.