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How eCall can cut road deaths across Europe

A campaign to ensure new cars are fitted with a device to automatically alert emergency services to road crashes has stepped up a gear.

eCall dials EU-wide emergency number 112 in the event of a serious road accident and sends airbag and impact information, as well as GPS coordinates, to rescue teams.

MEPs have backed a resolution which has said the system would speed up the arrival of emergency crews and save lives.

Catherine Bearder, an MEP for the South East, said: "Even if you are unconscious, the system will let rescue workers know exactly where you are. The great advantage is the technology already exists and we should be taking advantage of it."

The resolution, which was adopted by the Internal Market and Transport Committees on Tuesday, has called for all new cars to be fitted with eCall by 2015.

It is thought the eCall system would save up to 2,500 lives a year and reduce the severity of injuries by up to 15 per cent. However, currently only 0.4 per cent of cars are fitted with the device.

Catherine added: "The figures suggest a staggering number of lives would be saved every year if cars came equipped with eCall… I don't need any more convincing."

The resolution has stressed eCall cannot be used to determine a person's location unless they have been involved in an accident.

The resolution will be voted in plenary in Strasbourg in July. The European Commission is expected to table a legislative proposal on eCall by the end of the year.

Last week Catherine signed a written declaration which calls for lorries to be fitted with improved blind spot technology.

The EU economic loss caused by road accidents is more than 160 billion Euro each year and it is thought eCall could save 20 billion Euro annually.

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