28th April 2015
Conservative MEPs today (Tues) are opposing EU legislation which would force all cars to include controversial satellite-tracking technology that broadcasts a locator signal in the event of an accident.
They opposed the measure as expensive, authoritarian and potentially counter-productive.
The legislation, debated in the European parliament this week, would pave the way for the compulsory inclusion in all new cars of the "eCall" system, developed and marketed by BMW.
Motorists would be prevented from switching the technology on and off and it is expected to add in the region of £100 to the cost of a car. Countries would also be obliged to invest heavily in new infrastructure to monitor the system.
Ashley Fox, MEP for the South West of England & Gibraltar, said he objected to the law on grounds of compulsion, cost and personal privacy.
"Of course we support road safety, but that this system won't stop any accidents and will be hugely costly. That does nothing to promote safety.
"We might support a voluntary system - but not the mandatory one. People should be able to choose whether they allow a satellite to track their every movement. While it is put forward on this occasion on road safety grounds we fear it could be the thin end of the wedge. How long before we get calls for it to constantly record a car's position and to calculate speed and driving standards?
"Just putting in the infrastructure for this would eat up a huge chunk of the road safety budget, yet it will not prevent a single crash. It is clear to me that money would be better spent actually stopping accidents."