• E-call System To Be Implemented In Malaysia Soon – New In-Car Device To Reduce Emergency Response Time

    Published: Thursday, 18 January 2018
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    The emergency call system will soon be implemented to ensure the safety of road users and to reduce response time when accidents occur, according to the transport ministry.

    “The system will be activated automatically when a vehicle equipped with this system is involved in a serious accident where crash data will be sent to the Malaysian Emergency Response Services – or MERS 999 in the shortest possible time,” said transport minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai.

    “At the same time, the system can also be manually activated via panic button for an emergency other than an accident where emergency alerts generated to MERS 999 will be routed to the relevant emergency agencies for assistance,” Liow added.

    Data and information generated from the system will be used by the Malaysian Institute of Road Safety Research (Miros) for research and analysis in order to reduce accidents and deaths from road accidents, he continued. The e-call system could also act as a vehicle’s anti-theft device which can inform the vehicle owner via a registered phone number, in the event the vehicle is stolen.

    The system will, for now, be implemented on a voluntary basis in order to iron out any hiccups prior to mandatory installation, said Liow, and said that there will be no additional cost to car owners for the installation of the e-call system as automakers will be required install the device in their vehicles.

    No specific time frame was mentioned by the transport ministry for the system’s implementation, however the proposal was tipped to take place for all newly-registered vehicles from 2019, a move which the Malaysian Automotive Association (MAA) has called upon the government to defer.

    When mentioned last July at an MAA briefing, the arrangement could lead to major complications should there be any issues arising with the single as-yet-unnamed Malaysian supplier, said MAA president Datuk Aishah Ahmad. Eventual car prices will go up with the implementation of the e-call devices, while regulations and device specifications have yet to be confirmed, she said at that point.

    This also runs contrary to Liow’s claims that car owners won’t bear the cost of the additional device. The installation of said e-call devices can be very costly, driving up excise duty, import tax and GST which in turn increases costs and ultimately the on-the-road price if the device is installed at assembly and is then considered part of the vehicle, the MAA said.

    To date, Russia is the only country known to have a similar setup in place – should this proposal receive the green light, Malaysia will be the second country globally to have emergency call devices installed in road-going vehicles. The MAA also recommended that the e-call service and devices not be made mandatory for new vehicles in Malaysia. - Paultan

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