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What is eCall?

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By Saoirse McClure Fisher

calendar 14-04-2022 tag MAINTENANCE clock 10 min read

What is eCall?


If you bought a new car in the last four years, the chances are it has an eCall system onboard. This handy initiative provides speedy assistance should you be involved in a collision in the UK or any EU country.


What does eCall do?

eCall is an onboard SOS system, that, in case of a serious accident, contacts an emergency services operator via the 112-emergency line. It delivers limited information, allowing the operator to get the necessary help out to you quickly. 

Fitted to all cars made after 31st March 2018, it is compulsory for all new models to have eCall fitted. For cars that don’t come with eCall as standard, it can be fitted to older vehicles, should your car meet the technical requirements.


How does eCall work?

If you’ve been involved in a serious accident, you need to know when help will arrive.

Thankfully, eCall uses a telephone and data link to deliver your location and direction of travel to the emergency services – making it quicker and easier for them to respond and find you.

Through specially placed microphones, it allows you to talk to the operator without the need for a mobile phone connection. This means you can describe your situation and location, making it easier for emergency services to know what they are responding to.


Where is my eCall button?

Usually, a red oval shape labelled ‘SOS,’ the location of the eCall button on your vehicle may depend on the make and manufacturer. Often it sits either on the console closest to your rear-view mirror or tucked away in its own compartment on the ceiling. If you can’t locate your eCall button, refer to your car manual for further information.


When would I need to manually activate my eCall?

In the event of a serious accident, your eCall system will activate automatically, ringing through to the closest emergency contact centre and getting you the help, you need. 

There are, however, situations where you may need to manually activate the system and press the button yourself. This may be if you fear that either you or a passenger are in danger. 

If you choose to activate eCall manually, remain in the vehicle with your seatbelts on and activate your car’s hazard signals. This will avoid further accidents and help the emergency services find you.


Does it matter where I bought my car?

It doesn’t matter where you bought your car or where it’s registered, eCall will still provide you with the assistance you need in the event of an accident. 


Does eCall track my car or use my data?

Your car’s eCall system stays dormant until either manually or automatically activated in case of a serious accident.

Following EU guidelines on data protection, your personal data is only sent to the emergency services once eCall is activated. This information is limited to location, the direction of travel and anything else needed to help respond to your emergency.


Why isn’t there more awareness of eCall?

Research into awareness of the system shows that most drivers don’t know what eCall is, or if their vehicle is fitted with it.

Worse still, other studies have shown that the service is being used for non-emergency calls – taking up crucial emergency services airtime.

Used correctly, the eCall system has the potential to not only provide better response time in emergencies but save lives in the process.


If you haven’t checked to see if your car has eCall, take a look. You can also help to prevent accidents by ensuring you have the best quality tyres. Find out more here.

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