European Parliament votes for mandatory introduction of eCall system in cars

The European Parliament has supported the eCall car alarm system. According to the adopted law, car manufacturers must start installing the system in cars that will be sold in the EU from October 2015 at the latest.

The law to introduce the eCall system was passed with a large majority of 485 votes in favour. There were 151 votes against on Wednesday, while 32 MEPs withheld their vote. The auto industry had requested that the October 2015 deadline be suspended to allow longer testing of the system. The date was ultimately left unchanged in the legal text, but the European Parliament left the option for a postponement open.

The eCall system automatically activates in the event of collisions and other problems and calls 112. The European Parliament is said to have advocated stricter privacy protection with eCall, so that vehicles could not be continuously tracked. In the event of calamities, only data would be automatically sent about the type of activation, the vehicle type, the type of fuel, the time of the accident, the precise location, the direction of travel and the number of seat belts fastened in the vehicle. Car owners don’t have to pay for eCall, but installing it would cost the manufacturers around 100 euros.

Not everyone was happy with the result of the vote. Judith Sargentini, MEP for GroenLinks, is against the introduction. According to her, car manufacturers receive all kinds of sensitive data about customers: “The eCall device always knows where you are, can connect independently to the manufacturer’s systems and cannot be turned off. A recipe for abuse. The traffic is getting there. not safer either.” Sargentini argues that safety can be better addressed by shortening the arrival time of ambulances.