- Emergency number 112 applies across the EU
- Also used by many other countries
- DEKRA experts: emergency services play an important role in “Vision Zero”
“In an emergency, every second counts,” says DEKRA accident researcher Markus Egelhaaf. “Whether it is a fire, an accident at home or a car crash, it is important for emergency services to be alerted as quickly as possible. Remembering the emergency number can help save precious time. The fact that 112 is used across the entire EU makes this easy.”
Emergency responses to road crashes have improved constantly in recent decades, contributing significantly to falling fatality numbers alongside improvements in vehicle technology and infrastructure, as well as human-related factors. “The sooner emergency services are alerted to a road crash, the more lives can be saved,” explains Egelhaaf.
“The introduction of eCall in modern vehicles was an important step in this regard.” This system has been mandatory for all newly registered vehicle models since April 2018. In the event of a serious crash, it automatically calls the emergency number 112 or the vehicle manufacturer’s call center, while also transmitting a certain amount of data such as the precise position of the vehicle, the time of the accident, the license plate, and the direction of travel. “This data allows emergency services to react quickly, even if no one in the vehicle can talk to the control center.”
The common emergency number 112 greatly simplifies this process, both for eCall and normal telephone calls: “Wherever I am in the EU, I always know which number to call,” says Egelhaaf. “But this requires me to know the common emergency number in the first place.”
And it’s not only the nations of the EU that have established 112 as the common emergency number. It is also used by other European countries such as Switzerland, Iceland, and Norway. Even outside of Europe, 112 is becoming more widespread as an emergency number. Any call to 112 reaches a permanently staffed control center that can direct the emergency services to the scene of the accident or forward the call to those responsible.