In-depth evaluation of the effects of an automatic emergency call system on road fatalities

Niina Sihvola (Corresponding Author), Juha Luoma, Anna Schirokoff, Jari Salo, Kari Karkola

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

    14 Citations (Scopus)


    Purpose: This study aimed to evaluate the effects of an automatic emergency call system on accident consequences in Finland (ex-ante evaluation). In addition, the effects of the system on emergency response times and the effects of real-time information about the accident location were assessed.

    Methods: The evaluation utilised in-depth accident reports collected by the road accident investigation teams during the period 2001–2003. The time delay between the accident occurrence and notification of the emergency response centre was estimated from information in the phone log of emergency response centres and from the information provided by the road accident investigation teams. Accuracy and potential errors by emergency callers in defining the accident site, as well as potential problems with rescue units finding the accident site, were examined with a survey sent to emergency response centres.

    Results and conclusions: The main finding showed that the system could very probably have prevented 3.6% of the road fatalities investigated. In addition, it was assessed that the total preventive effect on road fatalities could be approximately 4–8% if possibly preventable fatalities were taken into account. The system has the greatest potential to save lives in cases where the emergency call would, with no automatic emergency call system, be made more than 5 min after the accident. In conclusion, the system is recommended for immediate and widespread implementation in Finland.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)99-105
    Number of pages7
    JournalEuropean Transport Research Review
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 2009
    MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


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