Fleet News

In-car emergency alert system but nobody listening in the UK, says AA

European drivers whose cars crash off the road, perhaps leaving them injured and unconscious, will be automatically flagged up as emergencies by in-car E-call technology mandated in the EU from 2015. For UK drivers who come to grief in exactly the same cars – no-one may be listening, warns the AA.

Cost scepticism of previous governments means that a UK system to monitor E-call technology and alert appropriate rescue teams still isn’t evolving in the UK despite there being companies ready and eager to support it.

Research in 2007, canvassing the views of 8,000 motorists across Europe, found that 74% want E-call in their cars. In the UK, 72% of drivers want the system.

An E-call system could:

  • Cut emergency response times by up to 50% in rural areas
  • Cut emergency response times by up to 40% in urban areas
  • Reduce car accident fatalities by 5% across the EU

Paul Watters, head of AA Public Affairs, told a meeting of EU and car industry representatives at the Motor Industry Research Association this week that the UK is woefully unprepared to take advantage of this life-saving technology.

“The UK has an enviable road safety record but future casualty reduction needs technology,” he said.

“The AA would like to see ‘E-call’ as a safety feature on all new cars as it can help notify the emergency services in that vital ‘golden hour’ after a serious crash. Rapid medical attention can be the difference between life and death.”

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