Land Rover emergency servicesAutomatic emergency call – or eCall – will be fitted as standard to every new car sold in the EU from 2018 following a vote today by the European Parliament.

This will potentially save over 2,500 lives in the EU in one year alone, estimate politicians.

eCall is technology built into cars that can detect the severity of a crash and automatically dial the emergency services. Using speakers and microphones, it can connect occupants with an operator even if they’re trapped within the car.

The system will automatically send information on the type of vehicle, the fuel used and the time of the accident. Crucially, it will also send the location of the crash, potentially cutting minutes or even hours from the time it takes emergency services to reach an accident.

“The European Parliament has repeatedly stressed that reducing deaths and the severity of injuries on the roads is its priority,” said rapporteur Olga Sehnalova from the Czech Republic, speaking on behalf of politicians.

“eCall as a public service, free of charge for all citizens, irrespective of the type of vehicle or its purchase price, will contribute to that common goal.”

Road accidents in the EU cost 25,700 lives in 2014. eCall could cut that by an estimated 10% a year.