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Road safety. The EP wants to improve the information given to drivers and to equip new cars, by 2015, with an automatic emergency call system in case of accident, to save lives. 85 people per day continue to die on the roads of the EU and it could be you. Although in the last 10 years the number killed on the roads has gone down by 36%, it's not enough. Member States would like to see the figure reduced by half by 2020. To do that, they're backing onboard technology in vehicles. So what could the cars of tomorrow look like? We head for a car dealership. By 2015 all new cars sold in Europe will be equipped with the technology hidden behind this button. It could save 2,500 lives per year in the EU. The technology is called eCall. In case of accident, the car automatically connects to the emergency services. If one of the accident sensors in the vehicle goes off, either the airbags or the seat belts, the system connects automatically to our assistance centre and also sends your GPS location. The eCall system can work automatically, but not necessarily. If you feel ill or witness an accident, pressing this button alerts the emergency services and indicates the accident site. In theory, the system seems promising, but it also has disadvantages. The downside is that it will generate a whole series of inappropriate calls. So some people will use eCall when they break down, for example. Others will get the wrong button or press eCall for other reasons. So those inappropriate calls will have to be managed. Member States hope to limit the cost of the equipment to 100 euros, but specialists doubt it. It could cost three times more. Will the spread of this device have a real impact on road safety? It's not certain. The impact of eCall on road safety will vary from country to country. In Belgium, where the population density is fairly high and so is traffic density, there are very few accidents where the driver is the only person involved in an area which is not frequented at all. But that's unlike other countries like Finland or some Greek islands. Vehicle safety has developed enormously over the decades. We're a long way from these pictures of simulated accidents filmed in the 1960s. They were testing the importance of wearing seat belts which was since made compulsory. Onboard technology isn't the only route for improving road safety. The European legislator is also looking at the information available to drivers. A little test. What's the difference between these two tyres? 'None,' you say. 'They're black and round.' But from November 2012 the difference will be obvious. Manufacturers will have to put a European label on them. It will make comparison easier. Three criteria will be indicated. The label includes the decibel level emitted by the tyre when it's rolling. Here you can find the level of fuel consumption that a tyre can produce over its lifetime. And, very important for safety, you can see an indication of the grip when driving on wet roads. In wet weather the difference in braking is 18 metres between a tyre rated A and one rated G. Some manufacturers haven't waited to be forced to inform consumers and have already placed such labels on their products. So keep your eyes open.
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