15 January 2007 – A new research report from the analyst firm Berg Insight has independently verified the socioeconomic profitability of the eCall system, proposed by the European Commission.
The eCall system utilises satellite positioning technology. In the event of a crash, eCall technology will call the emergency services – which can be reached throughout Europe under the single European emergency number 112 – at a “Public Service Answering Point” (PSAP), and report your exact location.
An eCall may be triggered automatically, or manually, by someone in the vehicle. Accurate location information will drastically cut emergency response time, thus saving lives and reducing the severity of the injuries. The Commission and the automotive industry agreed in February 2005 on an action plan aiming at introducing eCall in all new vehicles starting from 2009
By reducing the reaction time for the emergency services, the system is expected to save thousands of lives annually when fully implemented. Exactly how many lives that would actually be saved is however the subject of a debate between the proponents and sceptics who believe the cost exceeds the benefits.
According to the findings of the independent study by Berg Insight, there will be a net socioeconomic benefit for the EU if road fatalities and severe injuries are reduced by 3 percent or more. “The eCall project is based on the well known Golden Hour Principle of accident medicine, saying that the chance of surviving a severe injury decreases from 26 percent to 5 percent in the first hour”, explained Tobias Ryberg, Senior Analyst, Berg Insight.
“Literally, every minute counts when it comes to saving lives, not to mention preventing severe injuries which are a heavy burden on public finances.” Berg Insight estimates eCall could save 1,400–2,800 lives and prevent 8,600–17,100 severe injuries annually in the EU when fully implemented. Long term savings would be in the range of € 5–10 billion, whereas the long term cost is projected as € 4 billion.