Europe eCall-ing

Europe calls once again with a proposal for a European wide IT system: eCall.  Right To Ride has replied to a consultation on the system which the EU Commission would like to make mandatory for all vehicles.

eCall is an electronic “in vehicle” safety system that can automatically call emergency services if you have an accident – even if you are unconscious. The system informs rescue workers of your exact whereabouts, and apparently the ambulance and the fire brigade will be on their way in minutes. It is being touted that the system will work anywhere in Europe, even if you cannot speak the local language.

On the basis of this it all seems like a good idea but where do motorcycles fit into the system and what effect in general terms is there for motorcyclists or indeed for all road users?

The rationale behind eCall is that, according to the EU Commission, it will save around 2,500 lives per year throughout Europe, however a study carried out on behalf of the Department for Transport in GB, highlights that “many experts believe the evidence for this reduction of 2,500 deaths is slim.

By contrast, almost all accidents in the UK are quickly reported to the emergency services”. The report concluded that the benefits for the UK are outweighed by the costs, which are estimated at £2.2 billion between 2010 and 2020

For motorcyclists, the cost of eCall, whether mandatory or voluntary, would be approximately 100 euros for installation, although the eCall system for motorcycles still requires standardisation and also needs to look at how the system will be triggered, such as what is the criterion for a motorcycle accident to prevent missed or false triggering of the system.

Right to Ride opposes eCall, because we believe that the proposed system goes far beyond the principle of eCall for saving lives, and appears to effectively set out the EU Commission’s intent, which is to monitor and track all its citizens and use IT systems such as eCall for the benefit of money making ventures for the private sector.

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