European car manufacturers could soon be forced to install technology that would automatically call the emergency services in the event of a crash. However Malta, along with five other countries, has objected to the introduction of this measure in five years’ time, citing “cost concerns”.
In a report published last week on technology news website TG Daily, it was reported that European Telecommunications Commissioner Viviane Reding wanted to see the eCall system implemented by 2014, “but some countries, including Denmark, France, Ireland, Latvia, Malta and the UK, are holding back due to cost concerns”.
The system is designed to assist people who are unconscious after an accident, and the European Commission was “eager to make it a mandatory fitment in new cars”.
The Commission estimates that the system could save around 2,500 lives annually.
“Too many people are still dying on European roads,” Reding said when announcing this measure.
“Every week I hear about road accidents where eCall would have helped. The time has come for Member Sates and industry to move from talk to action,” she insisted.
Reding warned that if the eCall rollout did not accelerate, “the Commission stands ready to set out clear rules obliging governments, industry and emergency services to respond.
“I want to see the first eCall cars on our roads next year,” she added.
At EU level the Commission had done its part of the job. “All the relevant core standards for making eCall possible are in place. Europeans should not have to wait any longer for a system that could save their lives just because their governments fail to act,” the EU Telecoms Commissioner concluded.