National Highways and SMMT work on raising profile of eCall SOS in vehicles

National Highways is working with the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) to build greater awareness and understanding of eCall and eCall SOS button functions in vehicles.

As of summer 2021, over 90% of newly sold cars in the UK have eCall. This built-in safety feature is automatically activated in the event of an incident when the airbags are deployed. A driver or passenger can manually activate eCall by pressing a button – this button is known as eCall SOS.

Basic eCall is a public service and is free to use in the UK and in EU countries. You do not need to be carrying a mobile phone for this vehicle built-in safety feature to work. eCall operates on motorways, A-roads and local road networks.

When activated, eCall contacts a 999 operator. The built-in safety feature provides your vehicle’s exact location directly to emergency services. This means help arrives more quickly.

A Department for Transport report in 2013 concluded that across all UK roads, eCall can prevent 99 serious injuries and save 13 lives a year.

Since 31 March 2018, under EU Regulation 2015/758, all new M1 passenger cars and N1 light commercial vans must have built-in sensors and a system which can detect when the vehicle is involved in an incident. This is known as the emergency call system or most commonly as eCall.

Mike Hawes, Chief Executive, Society for Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT): “SMMT is pleased to be working with National Highways to build greater awareness and understanding of the emergency call system and eCall SOS functions in vehicles. This initiative is vitally important to inform and remind consumers of their cars’ additional safety measures including the ability to call for assistance in times of trouble.”

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