Fleet News

EC backing for phone trackers

HI-tech location systems that pinpoint mobile phones when they are used to make emergency calls could save lives, a major European report has claimed.

Europe's emergency services are currently unable to pinpoint accident and disaster victims calling from a mobile phone, yet more than 50% of 999 or 112 calls are made from them.

The European Commission passed a recommendation last year, requiring mobile operators to provide caller location information to the emergency services, 'within the technological possibilities of the networks'.

However, the recommendation fell short of stipulating accuracy or reliability levels, preferring to adopt a 'best effort' approach. A progress review will commence next month.

Yet in the United States, E-911 location technology enables mobile operators to locate fixed and mobile emergency calls immediately.

The technology has already been rolled out to cover almost 100 million mobile users and is saving lives.

According to the report, more than one million emergency callers in Europe a year are unable to indicate their location, while in several million emergencies, valuable time is lost because wrong or inaccurate location information is provided. This not only puts European mobile users at risk, but represents a significant drain on valuable emergency service resources, experts claim.

The report, produced by wireless location expert TruePosition in collaboration with emergency service and location experts from around the globe, will be presented to the European Commission as it begins its evaluation.

It calls for urgent action to help the emergency services reach incidents more quickly. Mike Amarosa, senior vice- president of public affairs at TruePosition, said: 'In any emergency situation, time is critical, and there are already too many tragic cases of emergency services being unable to locate accident and disaster victims in time to make a difference.'

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