Photo courtesy of the European Automobile Manufacturers Association

Photo courtesy of the European Automobile Manufacturers Association

New vehicles produced for the European Union are now equipped with a system that dials emergency services in the event of a serious traffic accident, reducing accident response time.

The emergency service system, eCall, automatically dials 112, the EU’s equivalent of 911, which will be redirected to local emergency services in the union, according to Brussels Times. The call is activated if the vehicle’s airbag deploys. 

The service will help ambulances, fire engines, and police intervene as quickly as possible following a collision, the European Automobile Manufacturers Association (ACEA) said in a release. The system also uses Galileo, the EU’s equivalent of America’s GPS satellite system, to send information about the vehicle’s location to emergency services, according to Forbes.

The eCall technology is legally mandatory on all new vehicles being registered. New models offered for sale after April 1, but registered before the date, do not have the compulsory requirement to be equipped with the system, according to Brussels Times

The project was first developed in 2001, and the EU chose it to be the basis of the legislation first put forward in 2013, reports Forbes. Some European countries have rolled out eCall early, including Slovenia in 2015, and Italy and Sweden in 2017.