Flawed eCall system pushed through by Parliament

SNP MEP Alyn Smith today (Tuesday) voiced his reservations over the European Parliament's decision to make it mandatory for all new vehicles to be fitted with calling devices that automatically alert emergency services to car accidents.

Having been given parliamentary support in today's Strasbourg plenary session, the eCall system will be obligatory for new motor vehicles sold across the EU by October 2015.

The system aims to save lives and reduce the severity of injuries incurred during car crashes by automatically generating an emergency call from a vehicle immediately after the vehicle is involved in a crash. While the system has the potential to save lives, concerns remain over the system's overall efficiency and potential for false alarms, the infrastructure surrounding the system's implementation and the implications for data protection.

Having voted against the report, Alyn explained:

"I voted against the report today. Whilst I am fully supportive of the use of technology to make Europe's roads safer, the issues still unanswered about the eCall system mean that this is the wrong piece of legislation for improving road safety within the European Union.

"The effectiveness of the system and its ability to save lives on Europe's road remains questionable, with the very real potential for false emergency calls. Moreover, complex questions of privacy are raised by a system that constantly tracks vehicle movements.

"While I believe that technology has a role to play in making Europe's roads safer, we have to first be sure of the effectiveness of the technology. With eCall we are not there yet and that is why I was disappointed with the result of today's vote."