New cars have an emergency call system (eCall), how does this work?


Anyone who has a car built after April 1, 2018 will have an emergency call system fitted as standard. This is also called eCall (Emergency Call) and is a safety system that immediately contacts the 112 center in the event of an accident. We explain how this works.

A signal is automatically sent to the 112 exchange

The emergency call system works throughout the European Union and is mandatory in all new cars. If you have an accident, a signal is automatically sent. This is forwarded to the 112 exchange via the nearest telephone mast. Regardless of which country within the European Union you are in.

Information is passed on, allowing emergency services to arrive on the scene more quickly. For example, the precise location of the accident is communicated, the direction of travel, how many people are in the car, the type of vehicle and the type of fuel. eCall then also establishes a voice connection with the emergency services. This way they can inform you how things are going.

Infographic Central Government

What if you have an accident and the emergency call system does nothing?

You can also activate the emergency call system yourself. Most cars have an SOS button near the rear-view mirror. Sometimes this is behind a cover, so it cannot be pressed accidentally. If you have an accident and the system does not arm itself, you can do so manually. Contact will then be made in the same manner as above.

Also read: ICE settings on your smartphone: how do you ensure that others can call your loved ones in an emergency?

What if you press the SOS button accidentally?

As mentioned, not all cars have a cover for the button. What if you (or one of the (grand)children) accidentally activate the emergency call system? Then you can cancel the call by pressing the button again.

What about privacy?

The eCall system therefore transmits all kinds of data in the event of an accident. This only happens in the event of an accident or when you press the button yourself. The system cannot access your data any further. Also, nothing is forwarded to the car manufacturer unless you set this yourself.

Emergency call systems from car manufacturers themselves

Cars from before April 1, 2018 may also have an SOS button. Some car manufacturers have their own emergency call systems. Brands have built in an emergency button themselves, which when activated will take you to the car brand’s alarm center. They check whether emergency assistance is needed and can call emergency services. If your car has this system, subscription costs may be involved.

The 112NL app, for those who do not have an eCall system

Is your car not equipped with eCall or a system from the brand itself? Then, in addition to calling 112, you can also request emergency assistance via the 112NL app. The app automatically transmits your location, allowing emergency services to get to you faster. In this article we explain how to install the app on your smartphone. This app is also useful when 112 is not reachable by telephone.

Emergency number 112 emergency

Also read: If 112 is not reachable by telephone: how can you still contact us?

(Source: National Government,, AD. Photo: Shutterstock)

The article is in Dutch

Tags: cars emergency call system eCall work


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