Brexit must leave EU lifesaving ruling intact

Even if Britain was not required to be compliant following Brexit, it would make no sense to spend money on creating an alternative technology.

The Brexit result of the referendum on membership of the EU has seen political turmoil here in the UK and in mainland Europe.   Politicians and pundits ponder possible permutations of Brexit, but there are tactical considerations that surpass all the political issues, not least EU standard EN16454, which relates to 112 eCall, a potential lifesaver in Britain and Europe.

The EU legislation requires that any new model car or light commercial vehicle type approved after 31 March 2018 must be fitted with technology so that, in the event of an accident, occupants may contact the emergency services via 112, alerting them to vehicle marque and model, number of occupants and geo-location.  This technology must also allow for the vehicle to make the call if occupants are unable to do so.

The IMR Sentinel In-Vehicle System, developed by IMR Technologies has been ruled compliant with the EU standard EN16454.  “Wherever a vehicle fitted with the IMR Sentinel may be in Britain or Europe, in the event of an accident the device will alert the local PSAP - Public Safety Answering Points- and thus the emergency services,” explains Martyn Gilbert, Managing Director of IMR Technologies, based in Perth, Western Australia.

“The Sentinel will open a voice channel to facilitate dialogue between the emergency services’ operator and vehicle occupants and also send data that will support prompt response and may help improved response within the so called Golden Hour.  Any language barriers between operator and vehicle occupants are overcome as data is a universal language and so the location information transmitted by our device will be understood, even if the operator and occupants have difficulty conversing.”

Fundamental to the EU eCall 112 concept is that the system is free to use – no subscription - and it must link directly to the emergency services’ operators - PSAPs - who will then attempt to speak to vehicle occupants.   Each country within the EU agreed to provide infrastructure to support the 112-based-Ecall service but the missing core element was compliant, certificated technology that could pass the stringent testing, including withstanding a 75g impact. The IMR Sentinel In-Vehicle-System solved that issue.

“Some with a political perspective may consider it ironic that, in light of Brexit, a business in a Commonwealth country has created technology that is compliant with and certificated for use in line with the EU regulation,” suggests Steven Warner, Senior Business Development Manager for IMR Technologies in Britain.  

“However, saving lives surely trumps such political considerations. Even if Britain was not required to be compliant following Brexit, it would make no sense to spend money on creating an alternative technology – one for the UK and another for Europe – as the British public would complain to manufacturers that their safety on the roads was being put in jeopardy.

“The EU ruling on eCall 112 is to be welcomed and recognised as a clear example of regulation created to benefit the well being of vehicle occupants, rather like the seat belt ruling.  Its implementation is likely to see lives saved and those who suffer injuries recover more swiftly because of early and effective intervention enabled via compliant, certificated technology.”