Stakeholders unite to raise awareness of accident-avoidance technologies

October 2, 2006

Brussels, 29 Sep 2006

Intelligent transport systems can save lives. The application of technologies such as Electronic Stability Control (ESC) and in-vehicle emergency calls can both reduce the likelihood of an accident, and cut the number of deaths from road accidents. If road users are to use these technologies, they must however first know that they exist. A public-private drive to promote accident-avoidance technologies has been launched with this in mind. The platform will bring together stakeholders from manufacturing companies, automotive suppliers, automotive clubs, road safety authorities, road operators, the insurance industry and service providers, with the European Commission participating as an observer.

'We have for a long time emphasised the importance of user awareness in the take-up of the new car safety technologies,' said EU Commissioner for Information Society and Media, Viviane Reding, announcing the initiative. 'Now we have concrete evidence that users' knowledge of new technologies needs improving. This is why I welcome the launch today of this new platform for promoting user awareness.'

The platform will be known as eSafety Aware, and will focus on pre-commercial promotion campaigns, chaired by the Foundation of the International Automobile Federation (FIA). The first campaign will be on ESC and launched in April 2007. ESC is the generic term for systems designed to improve a vehicle's handling, particularly at the vehicle's limits where the driver might lose control of the vehicle. ESC has been shown to reduce accident risk by 20 per cent.

eCall, the in-vehicle emergency call system, will be the focus of a later campaign. An eCall may be triggered automatically, or manually, by someone in the vehicle following an accident or other emergency. Accurate location information will drastically cut emergency response time, thus saving lives and reducing the severity of the injuries. The Commission and the automotive industry agreed in February 2006 on an action plan aiming at introducing eCall in all new vehicles from 2009.

FIA Chairman Rosario Alessi told participants that 41,000 people still die every year on Europe's roads, and outlined how the new platform will help: 'It is our job to get these systems to the users as quickly as possible. [...] We will work together with partners that share our vision and launch campaigns starting from ESC next year. These systems can save lives, but you need to know they exist to ask for them.'

The announcement was made at a high-level meeting on the Commission's i2010 initiative on 'a European information society for growth and jobs'.

For further information on the European Commission's i2010 initiative, please visit:
http://ec.europa.eu/information_society/eeurope/i2010/index_en.htm

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