I can’t decide if this is a genius or terrible idea. Cell phone providers have now made it possible for users to text message 911 during an emergency in case they’re unable to speak.
AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon Wireless have all hopped on board with the new feature, but the ability to reach 911 via text message is only currently active in limited areas. Only certain states and counties have call centers that support 911 texting, but they’re working on making this a nationwide feature as soon as possible. Providers are telling users to text 911 their location and emergency if they’re, say, hiding in a closet with an intruder in the house or hearing impaired, for example.
The FCC has distributed a list of guidelines for people if they’re sending a text to 911, but I have some concerns about this. For starters, there are way too many idiots in this country who think it might be funny to text 911 and pretend that they’re trapped in someone’s trunk, witnessing an armed robbery, etc. How will law enforcement be able to tell if someone is crying wolf via text? And don’t even get me started on drunk texting. I imagine these “call centers” will receive a fair share of dick pics, sentences formed with emoticons and accidental texts. Can they really punish people for sending messages that I’m sure many will claim as “accidental” or “sent to the wrong number”? I’m sure emergency operators already receive a decent amount of phony 911 calls, but this will probably just encourage people to be even more reckless with their phones. What’s next: Snapchatting 911? Today’s youth…sigh.
Don’t get me wrong: I do believe that this can save lives, and I urge people to use this feature only if they’re in the midst of a REAL emergency. I’m sure there are a ton of situations where people can’t speak up during times of trouble, but I also worry that there will be a lot of this happening:
What do you think: Is this a great or terrible idea? Sound off in comments!