The FCC just announced Monday that texting services will be added to the 911 emergency lineup. The government agency decided to add texting services as part of their emergency response system since 70 percent of 911 calls are derived from mobile devices. Now, individuals facing an emergency will be able to relay help to dispatchers using text services, according to ABC News. But how will texting 911 mix with texting and driving laws in California?
FCC chairman Julius Genachowski has committed to modernize FCC protocol, calling it the Next-Generation 911 service. “911 is an indispensable, live-saving tool,” Genachowski said. “But today’s 911 system doesn’t support the communication tools of tomorrow. Even though mobile phones are the device of choice for most 911 callers, and we primarily use our phones to text, right now, you can’t text 911.”
Pros and cons to Next-Generation 911 texting services
The pros of the Next-Generation 911 service will allow individuals to communicate with emergency service in situations where they are unable to speak. This will be useful in an emergency car accident if an individual is faced with some sort of technical difficulty: no signal, low battery, or poor service.
However, an overlooked con to texting emergency services is the possible distraction it can impose on those already driving, especially if they are in a perilous situation. Distracted driving laws in California including cell phone use and text messaging have been strict, and for good reason.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, dialing a cell phone increases the risk of a car accident or near car accident 2.8 times. And, text messaging increases the risk of a car accident or near car accident a staggering 23.2 times when compared to the car accident statistics with non-distracted driver.
Texting while driving has the potential to create a crash epidemic if texting continues to grow in popularity. If coupled with a true emergency, will texting 911 have any impact on maintaining safety on the road?
The jury is out: should the FCC modernize 911 calling with text services, or does this pose a further risk to causing car accidents on the road?
If you’ve been injured in a car accident arising out of suspected text messaging or cell phone use, contact our San Diego car accident attorneys today at 1-800-655-6585 for a free evaluation of your case.