28 April 2015 – The European Parliament adopted today in Strasbourg the legislation on eCall type approval requirements, giving the green light for the deployment of eCall services around the EU by 31 March 2018.

eCall is an emergency call service that notifies the emergency services in case of a road accident. It can be generated either automatically via activation of in-vehicle sensors or manually by vehicle passengers.

Gary Machado, EENA Executive Director, congratulated the EU for bringing forward the legislation: “EENA has been a supporter of 112 based eCall since its conception and welcomes the final approval. eCall is expected to save thousands of lives around the EU annually, by drastically improving emergency response in case of road accidents. While some key issues remain, overall the adoption of eCall is a great success for people’s protection and safety.”

However, there are some points that are worth being highlighted.

  1. eCall flag: An eCall is identified in the network thanks to the “eCall flag”, which indicates that the call is not a usual emergency call but an “eCall”. That way, it can be routed accordingly. Unfortunately, very few Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) have implemented it so far. EENA urges MNOs to implement the “eCall flag” infrastructure well in advance to ensure high quality performance and effective functioning.

The eCall service can be provided either by a public authority (112 based eCall) or by a private company (Third Party Service, or TPS eCall) as part of telematics services. The TPS eCall service is allowed under some conditions.

  1. Privacy: Estimates show that 95% of cars will be equipped with both 112 based eCall and telematics services, such as TPS eCall. Legislation guarantees the eCall device under public mandate (112 eCall) being “dormant” (inactive unless an eCall is activated). Nevertheless, TPS eCall is part of a broader range of services (telematics) and, thus, its dormant status cannot always be taken for granted. This raises questions about citizens’ privacy, unless proper information is given to them to make well-informed decisions. This is a clear point of high interest for European citizens. EENA strongly encourages the EU to look further into it, perhaps by extending the existing legislation guaranteeing citizens’ privacy.

Learn more: There is a variety of sources with eCall related information, but EENA understands that it can be overwhelming to many people not familiar with the topic. This is why EENA prepared a short publication aiming at providing a clear understanding of the issue.

Read “eCall – Everything you wanted to ask, but did not know how…” here.