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EU backs emergency call system

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A potentially life-saving in-car system which automatically alerts emergency services of serious accidents could come as standard in all new vehicles across Europe by 2015.

The European Commission has outlined proposals which make installation of the eCall technology mandatory in all cars, after its initial plea for voluntary adoption was met with an indifferent response from the industry.

It has been pushing for the adoption of new vehicle technologies that can potentially help make roads and motorists safer, as well as reduce car insurance premiums.

Designed under an EU-funded research project, eCall can automatically dial the 112 emergency number in the event of a serious accident and provide details including the location of the crash site.

It means rescuers are alerted and can respond quickly in cases where the motorists and passengers may not be in a state to call the emergency services or speak to operators themselves.

It is estimated that eCall can be installed in each car for under £90, but the industry take-up still remains "very slow".

An official statement on behalf of the Commission said it was taking "legislative action to introduce eCall because voluntary deployment has been insufficient".

© Press Association 2011