The European Commission has ruled that all new cars and vans sold in Britain must be fitted with the eCall emergency service function as of October next year.


The system, which uses a SIM card to contact emergency services in the event of an accident, is to be installed in all new European cars next year at the cost of around £100 per vehicle, according to the Daily Mail.

Critics have slammed the decision, claiming police and insurance companies could use the technology to monitor motorists, adjust insurance premiums and even prosecute those breaking the law.

The Daily Mail revealed that in a letter to MPs, Transport Minister Robert Goodwill wrote: "The basis for our opposition is that costs to the UK outweigh the benefits.

"Unfortunately, there is very little support for the UK position and no possibility of blocking this legislation. We are working with other member states to minimise the potential burdens on manufacturers and the potential cost to consumers.

"With regard to the rules on privacy and data protection, other member states have expressed similar concerns to us, about the potential for constant tracking of vehicles via the eCall system."

Manufacturers, such a Volvo and BMW, already have the system employed in a number of their latest models. The SOS button located on the dashboard or behind the rear-view-mirror can be activated in an emergency by the driver or it automatically sends a distress call if the airbags are deployed.

The system sends a text message to emergency services with the car's unique ID number and GPS coordinates in order to speed up response times and save up to 2,500 lives a years, according to EU officials.

Voluntary take-up has been slow across the industry so the EU parliament drafted a law that states the technology should be mandatory from October 1, 2015.

A draft of the law is due to be published next week before the EU Commission agrees it.

Do you think it is a good idea or has 'Big Brother' gone to far this time? Have your say below.