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FCC To Allow Texting To 911

kdawson posted more than 2 years ago | from the omg-srsly dept.

Cellphones 321

tekgoblin writes "The FCC is looking into allowing people to report incidents to 911 via SMS from their mobile phones. They are also considering mobile video to show the 911 service what is going on. The current 911 system handles around 230 million calls per year with most of the calls being from mobile phones. One situation influenced this move to allow texting to 911 was the Virginia Tech shooting. 'The technological limitations of 9-1-1 can have tragic, real-world consequences,' the release said. 'During the 2007 Virginia Tech campus shooting, students and witnesses desperately tried to send texts to 9-1-1 that local dispatchers never received. If these messages had gone through, first responders may have arrived on the scene faster with firsthand intelligence about the life-threatening situation that was unfolding.'"

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321 comments

What the hell (4, Insightful)

Arancaytar (966377) | more than 2 years ago | (#34316876)

Without interacting with the dispatcher, you can't be sure that you've provided the necessary info. Talking is faster than typing, even for a T9 wizard. Is there any reason why you should text a 911 responder instead of just calling them?

Re:What the hell (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#34316904)

I can only think of one situation: if you are hiding from an attacker. (Remember to mute your phone, kids!)

Re:What the hell (5, Insightful)

Zironic (1112127) | more than 2 years ago | (#34316916)

Texting is a lot more silent if a criminal is nearby and might hear you, also a lot of people are idiots.

Re:What the hell (2, Funny)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 2 years ago | (#34317162)

also a lot of people are idiots.

You win the prize! Don Pardo; tell him what he won!

Re:What the hell (5, Insightful)

DrgnDancer (137700) | more than 2 years ago | (#34316920)

For precisely the reason in the summary. If you're inside on a bank robbery or other hostage type situation you can send a text in near complete silence. Talking to a dispatcher will make noise and potentially give away your position (and the fact that you're in contact with the outside). It's a limited use case, but happens often enough to justify the relatively small expense I would think.

Re:What the hell (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 2 years ago | (#34317182)

That is retarded.

Dial 911, simply do not SAY anything but do not hang up. cops will be on the way.

What moron thinks the 911 dispatcher will go "hello? hello? Nobody there, I'll hang up and ignore it....."

Re:What the hell (2)

jonbryce (703250) | more than 2 years ago | (#34317294)

Apparently there's far too many of those calls, and most of them are false alarms for that to be any use. Or at least that is the case in England where you call emergency services using the English number 999 or the EU number 112.

Re:What the hell (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#34317302)

That situation happens enough that it can be a serious problem. Several 911 dispatchers that I've talked to have said that they usually hang up if they hear nobody because it usually is a prank call. Kids are stupid and do just that, so dispatchers will do the same thing nowadays, at least around here they do...

Re:What the hell (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#34317308)

Right, and not saying anything definitely tells the dispatcher you are on the 7th floor....

Re:What the hell (3, Interesting)

arivanov (12034) | more than 2 years ago | (#34317362)

Welcome to the UK then.

The instructions to the dispatchers in cases like this used to be that they ignore you and hang up. This has thankfully recently changed as a result of a inquiry on a case where a girl was hijacked and called 999 (UK equivalent of 911) twice, got ignored twice and was raped and murdered. This has also happened more than once - 2003, 2004, 2007 are the well known cases which have made the national media.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/mobile/magazine/7748046.stm [bbc.co.uk]

However, IIRC even the new instructions which have been put in after this, still require the dispatcher to try to talk to you first which will make the phone speak and give away your position and the fact that you have dialed straight away (you really do not want your pants talking to you when you are looking down the barrel of a 9mm handgun). In addition to that nobody knows that you are not listened to and nobody knows that you are supposed to press a few numbers to indicate that you actually mean what you mean. And nobody knows the text number even if it is available in your area and it is not standardised internationally.

Compared vs that I would rather have texts to 112 (999/911 are handled by same call routing) anyday.

Re:What the hell (3, Informative)

RKenshin1 (899412) | more than 2 years ago | (#34317398)

Also, I found this tidbit out from working with our Sheriff's Office for the past 3 years.... Most of the time, a cell phone location can't be pinpointed. It does pinpoint on the mapping system, but it's a best guess based on triangulation between towers. Often, you have to assume it's within a square mile of where it shows on the mapping system. It may be a lot different in larger cities with a higher tower density, but that's been my experience with cell phone mapping. Definitely not what you see in the movies!

Re:What the hell (3, Insightful)

peragrin (659227) | more than 2 years ago | (#34317420)

um you do realise they can't track about 70% of the cell phones currently in use right.

triangulation takes time 10-15 minutes at a minimum. so unless your phone broadcasts e911 gps they don't know where you are. And even if you are broadcasting e911, that doesn't mean the 911 dispatcher you have connected to has similar abilities to receive it. The dispatcher won't hang up but can do nothing until someone tells them where they are. So no the cops won't be on their way until someone knows where to send them.

ultimately 911, operators should be able to receive and send phone calls, multimedia texts, GPS data from the phones, and have someone create a video phone standard and add that as well.

The more information one has the better. However most people don't realize just how little good information is actually told to 911.

Re:What the hell (2, Insightful)

jra (5600) | more than 2 years ago | (#34316926)

Yeah, only if you're hunkered down behind a desk, hoping the gunman won't notice you used Old Spice when you showered this morning.

Oh, and don't forget to turn your ringer off...

This will fail on false alarms, just as would the slightly more intelligent "provide a mobile-friendly webpage" idea. Also no way to tag the GPS location on it.

Re:What the hell (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 2 years ago | (#34317034)

Also no way to tag the GPS location on it.

Could have the Telecoms company provide a rough location though, so that at least they can get some officers into the general area ready to respond on any further info? Or maybe even a precise location if enough cell towers are around.

Re:What the hell (1)

MobyDisk (75490) | more than 2 years ago | (#34317184)

They already do. Some years ago, the FCC mandated that all cell phones send location information when the phone dials 911. [wikipedia.org] It is somewhat of a necessity anyway, since if I am in California but my billing address is in New York, you don't want the New York 911 dispatcher to get my call. There was an uproar over this ruling, because it doesn't prevent the from sending this location information when other calls are made.

Re:What the hell (1)

AndrewNeo (979708) | more than 2 years ago | (#34317334)

This isn't how determining where your 911 call is routed works. The tower/phone exchange know where to forward you to for 911, the position data you pointed out is for 911, not for the phone company to tell you where 911 is.

Re:What the hell (4, Insightful)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 2 years ago | (#34316938)

The necessary info is almost always "I need the cops at location X". Usually just the call itself, which carries location info (E911 from mobiles), is sufficient. But sometimes telling the cops that the emergency is armed, perhaps heavily, the number of people, or some other details, can help the first responders arrive better prepared to cope with the situation more quickly, safely and effectively. But it's also common for people in the emergency not to be able to talk, lest they tip off the people causing the emergency.

Re:What the hell (2, Informative)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 2 years ago | (#34316948)

If the dispatcher needs more info, they can always text back.

Besides with cellphone GPS, it pretty much provides everything that might be needed. "I'm being held hostage by a shooter at UVA!" plus the GPS will tell the dispatcher where to send police. IMHO it makes logical sense to tap the new techniques that texting and built-in cameras provide.

Re:What the hell (0, Troll)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 2 years ago | (#34317168)

GPS only works outdoors.

Just saying that unless GPS was enabled when they walked indoors and stored the last good lock position, it'd be useless. They absolutely do need you to tell them where you are exactly, just in case.

Re:What the hell (3, Informative)

faedle (114018) | more than 2 years ago | (#34317326)

Um... "GPS" doesn't mean what you think it does in this context. To most consumers, "GPS" has come to mean any location-aware device, regardless of the methodology of geolocation.

Most cell phones, especially smart ones like Android and iOS based phones, are able to provide disturbingly precise fixes without using the satellite constellation. It is completely possible to get a reasonable fix from cell tower triangulation.

Even then, cell phone GPS chips have gotten pretty good at scraping the signal out of the noise. With assistance from the tower triangulation, it is possible to get a fairly precise fix with only one or two GPS satellites visible. Add to that a possible WiFi signal location, and you've got many ways to get a fix indoors good enough for 911.

So, yes, "GPS" does work indoors now.

Re:What the hell (0)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 2 years ago | (#34317470)

The Google-provided WiFi data is to be deleted, and trilateration by cell tower signal is nowhere near as accurate as many folks make out.

I wouldn't trust cell tower signal to guide me to a street in London, for instance, and that's exactly the kind of information a 911 responder would need.

Re:What the hell (1)

jonbryce (703250) | more than 2 years ago | (#34317342)

Cell tower geolocation is always available. Your phone might also be able to use Wifi to locate itself, which can be more accurate, or completely inaccurate. My phone is accurate enough indoors to know whether it is at the top, middle or bottom end of my street.

Re:What the hell (1)

goldaryn (834427) | more than 2 years ago | (#34317192)

If the dispatcher needs more info, they can always text back.

"bein hld hstg @ UVA 2 guy w smg"

"lol"

Re:What the hell (2, Insightful)

pla (258480) | more than 2 years ago | (#34316960)

Is there any reason why you should text a 911 responder instead of just calling them?

Oh, I dunno, perhaps because you don't want the guy with a gun across the hall to hear you calling the police, as per TFA? Because your steering wheel has crushed your larynx and you can't talk? Or hell, just because you don't want to give 27 forms of ID before they'll even listen to your problem (I personally love that one - God forbid anyone actually use 911 for a real emergency, you'd die before the operator stops asking for details like your college roommate's pet chinchilla's name)?

I agree that 99.9% of the time, you should just call instead of texting. But if that 0.1% makes a difference, why not allow it?

Re:What the hell (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#34316970)

Ok, so college students actually thought that you can TEXT to 911? WTF.

Re:What the hell (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#34317174)

To be fair that might have been their only choice if they wanted to remain silent. So why not give it a try.

Whatever you "get off my lawn" types think, texting a real and valid form of widely used communication. Kids nowadays use it more than talking so using it for emergency services makes sense. They're already used to using it for everything else.

Re:What the hell (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#34317198)

I would not have assumed the message would be dropped on the floor.

Re:What the hell (4, Insightful)

tverbeek (457094) | more than 2 years ago | (#34317472)

Especially in a crisis situation, a college student whose friends all have SMS-enabled phones, and even their old-fashioned parents do, might not stop to consider that the people at 911 - who supposedly have state of the art technology - don't.

Re:What the hell (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#34316986)

It's good for deaf people

Re:What the hell (1)

Spad (470073) | more than 2 years ago | (#34316994)

The only reasonable case I can think of is if you need to stay silent while doing so.

Re:What the hell (1)

gay358 (770596) | more than 2 years ago | (#34317084)

It is also good if you are deaf, mute, if there is so much noise that phone call wouldn't work, if radio signal is too poor for a call, if the telephone network is congested etc.

Re:What the hell (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#34317396)

Or if you speak only foreign languages, you could text the problem in Urdu and let the operator figure it out.

"Trapped in bathroom, gas leak, don't ring the bell!"

Re:What the hell (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#34317120)

What about deaf people? You know, the 16 million people who can't use a phone without texting?

Re:What the hell (2, Insightful)

tverbeek (457094) | more than 2 years ago | (#34317152)

The more relevant question is: Is there any reason why 911 dispatchers should be unable to receive (and seemingly ignore) text messages?

Sure, an interactive phone conversation is ideal, but the nature of emergencies is that they are not ideal situations. The caller may not be able to talk. The caller may lose consciousness. The caller may be incoherent. They may have to immediately hang up. Dispatchers take the alert - whatever it consists of - and act based on what information they have. If someone sends a text message to 911 instead of calling, why shouldn't they be equipped to receive it (and respond to it)?

Re:What the hell (1)

lxs (131946) | more than 2 years ago | (#34317194)

Plenty of reasons:

How about: "Im choking - snd amulance!"
Deaf-mutes can report fires...
What if you're in an extremely noisy environment and can't make yourself heard?

Re:What the hell (4, Insightful)

heikkile (111814) | more than 2 years ago | (#34317222)

Here in Denmark we were taught that if the coverage is bad, as it often is at sea, a text message is more likely to make it through. Same might be the case with low battery situations, and even if speaking aloud is not safe, as could be the case in some shooting and hijacking situations. In some situations the background noise may make voice communications unreliable, and some accidents may even disturb your ability to speak... Many reasons to allow the use of text messages.

Re:What the hell (1)

Chewbacon (797801) | more than 2 years ago | (#34317234)

I've personally called 911 before and given them the short and sweet. Albeit, I'm a nurse and former fire fighter and know what to provide: "2 car MVC, Any Street and Bob Road, 3 passengers with injuries, one ejected. Send EMS." American Heart Association's CPR algorithms say when to call 911 when performing CPR without help (i.e. at home, the office, etc) and it's not always right away. Considering you have less than a 10% chance of surviving full cardiac arrest and lose 1.5% every minute without advanced cardiac intervention, every second counts. When every second counts, sending a text is much quicker than waiting on the phone to make a connection and ring through.

Re:What the hell (1)

Rob the Bold (788862) | more than 2 years ago | (#34317330)

Without interacting with the dispatcher, you can't be sure that you've provided the necessary info. Talking is faster than typing, even for a T9 wizard. Is there any reason why you should text a 911 responder instead of just calling them?

Could you be deaf? That wouldn't necessarily preclude carrying a cell phone these days.

Re:What the hell (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#34317556)

Is there any reason why you should text a 911 responder instead of just calling them?

Yes, if you are hiding under your bed while a murderer is killing your parents.

Lets get with the times (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#34316880)

Allow also tweets please

Re:Lets get with the times (4, Funny)

Arancaytar (966377) | more than 2 years ago | (#34316936)

And Facebook.

"Add 911 as Friend"
"Poke 911"
"Write on 911's Wall"

(Five people liked your wall post: "just got mugged omg help ".)

Re:Lets get with the times (1)

pla (258480) | more than 2 years ago | (#34317068)

Lets get with the times

Oh, puh-lease. Facebook has sooo jumped the shark.

All the cool kids today have "discovered" this cool retro thing called "IRC". It even has built-in filesharing and "rooms" for group chat!

Re:Lets get with the times (1)

goldaryn (834427) | more than 2 years ago | (#34317088)

This exists. Greater Manchester Police released an app [facebook.com] which gives security updates and stuff. I haven't used it. It's not been without it's critics [zdnet.co.uk].

But worrying about texts to 911 ignores the real issue, which is easily available guns and ammo.

Re:Lets get with the times (1)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 2 years ago | (#34317190)

And Facebook.

"Add 911 as Friend" "Poke 911" "Write on 911's Wall"

(Five people liked your wall post: "just got mugged omg help ".)

Yeah, because a mugger won't take your phone.

Re:Lets get with the times (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#34317044)

If this isnt some shitty joke... then.. fuuuuuckkkkk no.

@ 911 help i have no life #iamgay #imakebadjokes #retardedideas

Based on the summary (4, Interesting)

OzPeter (195038) | more than 2 years ago | (#34316956)

Based on the summary it seems that the text generation expected 911 to work the way their life works. It is a pity that texting 911 didn't work and it is interesting that it is being investigated

Sounds problematic (4, Insightful)

C_Kode (102755) | more than 2 years ago | (#34316962)

This sounds very problematic. First off, you can text from a computer without a phone number. Prank text messages sounds like it could be a real problem.

Second, dispatch can't ask distinct questions and anyone who works in IT that has dealt with people with problems, they aren't always clear and concise what is happening.

Re:Sounds problematic (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 2 years ago | (#34317078)

First off, you can text from a computer without a phone number. Prank text messages sounds like it could be a real problem.

If you were that interested in prank calls you could use a public payphone. They could also filter out messages sent from anonymous/public text services, only accepting properly registered numbers, and limit it to responses to serious situations rather than "I broke my leg, but I can't be bothered calling you so I'm texting instead".

Re:Sounds problematic (2, Interesting)

faedle (114018) | more than 2 years ago | (#34317372)

You do realize that E911 has to know the phone number to know what dispatch center to route the "call" to. So, I suspect that it would likely cause a different problem: if you texted 911 from a phantom number, the text would simply be dropped because it would not know how to route the call.

Re:Sounds problematic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#34317532)

You apparently know nothing about how 911 dispatch works (e.g. they have ways to deal with hang-ups, calls in which no one talks at all, calls in languages the dispatcher can't understand, etc.)

You also apparently don't understand text messaging (e.g. the person receiving can send replies asking for clarification).

Re:Sounds problematic (1)

grumbel (592662) | more than 2 years ago | (#34317548)

This sounds very problematic.

The alternative to text messages here isn't a phone call, but no contact to 911 at all (example is given right in the summary). Doesn't sound that problematic when seen this way. Also this isn't just about texting, but about using capabilities of mobile phones in general, live video streaming could be quite handy in many emergencies.

A new vector for pranks. (1)

chemicaldave (1776600) | more than 2 years ago | (#34316964)

I'm sure this will lead to many more 911 pranks. Kids are stupid and will only be more brazen about it when they don't have to actually talk to someone.

Re:A new vector for pranks. (1)

Cwix (1671282) | more than 2 years ago | (#34317090)

Arrest them.

Take the kid downtown, put him in a cell, call parents. If the parents act like asses press charges against the kid, if they dont and promise to take care of the issue let him out. Once little billys friends find out you get arrested for this, it wont happen anymore. If it does, do not pass go, do not collect two hundred dollars. Press charges as a repeat offender and force the kid to spend a week in juvie. ( My little brother had to spend a week in juvie for something along these lines. It straightened him right out.)

Dark Knight-style... (1)

netsharc (195805) | more than 2 years ago | (#34316976)

I just had an idea, about accurately timestamped and geo-tagged SMSes (the second requirement is more or less impossible at the moment, since GPS lock is hard to get indoors), the 911 dispatch could get a swarm of the SMSes and with a visualization tool see how serious the situation is, and where the SMSes are coming from. (For a rough estimate of location, cell-tower identification would probably be sufficient).

The sonar tech that Bruce Wayne embedded quietly into civilian phones in the Dark Knight is also a neat idea, although with several phones in a room, the sonars would probably confuse each other. How do bats do it, does each bat have a slightly different frequency/"voice"?

Kinect-on-a-phone anyone?

Re:Dark Knight-style... (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 2 years ago | (#34317108)

the 911 dispatch could get a swarm of the SMSes and with a visualization tool see how serious the situation is, and where the SMSes are coming from. (For a rough estimate of location, cell-tower identification would probably be sufficient).

Sounds like they should just use Twitter? They already have Geotagging [twitter.com]. Personally I've not found any use for Twitter yet, but this sounds like a great use for it!

It better be free and work with txting blocked (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#34316984)

It better be 100% free and work with txting blocked and even if you have no sim.

Re:It better be free and work with txting blocked (5, Insightful)

rjstanford (69735) | more than 2 years ago | (#34317106)

It better be 100% free and work with txting blocked and even if you have no sim.

If you think you need to make a 911 contact, but wouldn't if it would cost you a dime, then you don't need to make a 911 contact.

Problem solved.

Re:It better be free and work with txting blocked (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#34317248)

What if you have a prepaid cellphone and are out of cash? 911 (etc. in other countries) are free to call for exactly this reason. It even works without having a SIM card in the phone (at least for European GSM phones) OR knowing any password - typing 112 or 911 will bypass this.

While the "no sim" or "locked phone" is less of a problem, "out of cash" is a bigger one.

Oh come on.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#34317022)

"OMGWTF! hlp pls. i hav jus bin stbbd :( Im @ *Some Text Missing*"

What good is that to anybody?

Can't wrap my head around (1)

NoSleepDemon (1521253) | more than 2 years ago | (#34317024)

Why the students thought that texting 911 would work. I understand they were in a dire situation, but you wouldn't piss on a fire that's engulfed your entire building because you KNOW it's futile, so why would you text 911? Unless you're pretty damn stupid. Just saying.

Re:Can't wrap my head around (1)

multipartmixed (163409) | more than 2 years ago | (#34317062)

Maybe they were trying to not make any noise.. So as, to you know, not get shot.

Re:Can't wrap my head around (1)

NoSleepDemon (1521253) | more than 2 years ago | (#34317180)

Texting 911 doesn't work, everyone knows this, they would have been better off finding somewhere secluded to make a call rather than trying something that is obviously futile.

Or, you know, they could have texted a friend and had them call 911...

Future Operator training (1)

portwojc (201398) | more than 2 years ago | (#34317026)

Next will be 911 operators could have had responders on the scene faster if they just understood the messages.

Text Pictures from the Highway (0, Troll)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 2 years ago | (#34317038)

I wish I could text pictures or video from the highway. I see people driving so dangerously that it's effectively assault, all the time. I can't drive 5 miles on the highway, or 5 minutes in a town/city, without seeing people texting while driving as they do something dangerous. I sometimes pull up next to them and take a picture with them with my phone that I keep in my dashboard, which used to get most of them to stop (though the past year or two it often sends them into an insane self-righteous rage).Taking the picture isn't distracting to me as I drive; it's about as distracting as punching an FM preset button, and I make sure I'm not changing lanes or in any other complex driving situation when I snap the picture. I yearn for the day when my car has 360 degree video all the time as part of its security system, which should connect to my phone or a car WWAN.

I wish I could then press a button to send the picture, or (even better) video, to 911. I'd then voice call 911 (on speakerphone), and give details. If the other driver were really nuts I might even follow them for a while, or just watch them careen off into traffic, updating the cops. I'd get their license plate in the shot. I'd show up to testify against them in court, swearing to the video evidence. And then maybe these lunatics might keep their deranged driving off the roads.

Re:Text Pictures from the Highway (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#34317126)

I don't care how careful you think are. Do your fellow cars a favor and stop taking "safety vigilante" pictures while driving. You are adding to the highway mayhem to stroke your ego.

Re:Text Pictures from the Highway (2, Funny)

rjstanford (69735) | more than 2 years ago | (#34317132)

I wish I could text pictures or video from the highway .... I sometimes pull up next to them and take a picture with them with my phone .... Taking the picture isn't distracting to me as I drive ....

Ah... so when other people do it, its dangerous and they deserve to be reported to the police. But you, on the other hand, are a safe responsible phone user. Now it all makes sense.

Re:Text Pictures from the Highway (1)

NevarMore (248971) | more than 2 years ago | (#34317212)

So how is you driving down the road using a camera any less dangerous than texting?
How is it that you paying so much attention to what the drivers in other cars are doing not distracting you from your own driving?

"I only do X in the car when its safe" is bullshit. You're driving a relatively heavy machine in an open environment. Its always dangerous. You always need to keep your head on a swivel. Control what you can.

See someone driving dangerously? Either drop back and leave them room, move over a lane and leave room, or use the accelerator and put 'em in your mirrors. Don't be a nanny and exacerbate the situation. You aren't the police and you aren't their mother.

Re:Text Pictures from the Highway (0, Troll)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 2 years ago | (#34317368)

Because they are actually driving dangerously, while I am not. As I explained in detail. You're stupid. Stay away from traffic.

Re:Text Pictures from the Highway (1)

Cwix (1671282) | more than 2 years ago | (#34317348)

What do you do with these pictures? What do you think 911 is going to tell you? Im sorry we will send an officer right out to arrest the person who didnt use blinkers..

I hope if they arrest the asshole for texting that they arrest you for filming them while driving.

Re:Text Pictures from the Highway (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 2 years ago | (#34317392)

Right now I can't do anything, except wait to hear that they've crashed and I can send the pictures as evidence it was their fault. I didn't say blinkers, I said actually dangerous driving. Though that often includes not using blinkers.

I don't expect 911 to "tell me" anything. I expect them to send highway patrol and catch the criminal I spotted who's endangering everyone else on the road.

You are stupid. Stay away from traffic.

Re:Text Pictures from the Highway (1)

Cwix (1671282) | more than 2 years ago | (#34317550)

Lol your funny. I'm the one who doesn't fuck with my cell while driving, while your running around trying to take pictures/video. Who do you think the better driver is?

If you really want to take fucking video get a dash cam, make a dash cam, whatever. Dont fuck with your cell cause that makes you a fucking hypocrite.

Re:Text Pictures from the Highway (1)

Donniedarkness (895066) | more than 2 years ago | (#34317584)

The consensus here seems to be that you're more a problem than a solution. No matter how much good you think you're doing, you're not. You've openly admitted that you're angering the other drivers, which is certainly not safe for anyone.

It seems like your ego is more important to you than the safety of the people on the road.

Please don't walk away from this mad. Think about it some. Maybe our comments have some merit?

Also, you're stupid. Stay away from traffic.

They're kidding, right? (1)

snspdaarf (1314399) | more than 2 years ago | (#34317054)

Oh, come on. It's an emergency. Make a fuckin' phone call.
"H3LP TEY HZ GUNZ" is not going to cut it.
This is a time for clear and quick communication, not being fashionable.

911 Video (1)

dammy (131759) | more than 2 years ago | (#34317076)

It would probably a nightmare for dispatchers, but having a live video feed from a 911 call would rock. Live video would give dispatchers a real world situational report to the officers or fire rescue units responding plus State Attorney's Office more evidence to prosecute criminals with. It probably would also push for larger wireless connection to field units to view what the dispatchers are seeing or replays of the video before reaching the scene.

Better idea (0)

srussia (884021) | more than 2 years ago | (#34317080)

Learn CPR, carry a gun.

Seriously, you do not want 911 in a crisis situation.

Re:Better idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#34317244)

I agree, a gun and CPR can be used to solve almost any crisis situation.

Trapped in a car? Use gun on self.
Come to the scene of an accident? Use CPR. If CPR doesn't work use gun.

Whatever you do don't call 911. It's just a waste of time and resources.

Re:Better idea (1)

Eudial (590661) | more than 2 years ago | (#34317412)

I see you attended the Jack Bauer school of CPR. Find someone unconscious? Forget chest compressions: Hook 'em up to a car battery and pistol whip them until they start talking.

Re:Better idea (1)

NevarMore (248971) | more than 2 years ago | (#34317266)

+1 at parent. Thanks for the reminder about CPR, I need to renew my Red Cross training. It'll look good next to my concealed carry permit.

A gun isn't for everyone and there are places you still aren't legally allowed to carry one. You need to have a plan for when the shit hits the fan. More often than not this is just being calm and knowing some basic first aid. Its not all goblins and robbers and boogeymen.

I hear good things about the NRA "Refuse To Be A Victim" seminars. Despite being NRA they aren't firearms focused. They're about being prepared for the rare event when things go bad so that you aren't a victim. Spotting trouble before it happens and having a plan.

Re:Better idea - remember the saying (1)

SargentDU (1161355) | more than 2 years ago | (#34317370)

Police can be there in minutes when seconds count. Having a gun, is there immediately, when and where needed. Enough said.

Re:Better idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#34317430)

Learn CPR, carry a gun.

CPR is for keeping circulation going till a doctor arrives with a defibrillator and stuff, it alone doesn't do much good in actually restarting the heart, that only works in the movies. So you better not miss the 911 call.

We want smaller government. Not a nanny state. (0, Offtopic)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | more than 2 years ago | (#34317150)

If only $something was possible we would have averted $tragedy is a very elastic standard. We can not use that statement alone to justify anything. OK, if people were able to get to the emergency responders via text message and show them their mobile camera we might have saved a few lives. But if we force every person in the USA to drive M1A1 Abrams battle tank for commuting we would save a few lives in auto collisions too. (But lot more pedestrian causalities but that is a different story.)

If people are saying, "hey texting is cheap, mobile video camera are ubiquitous, let us see if we can take advantage of this to improve the emergency response" it is a valid statement/claim. But dredging up some vague anecdotal evidence where such a thing might have helped should not be the basis for an argument.

The tragedy is vast majority of the public and most of the journalists go for the anecdotes and miss the forest for the trees.

BTW, all those people crying hoarse "We want smaller government, less taxes, we want the government off our backs" to jump in argue why this level of expectation from the government is a bad idea. If you do nothing to reduce the public expectation of the government services, you will never ever reduce spending. Starving the beast wont work. Deficits will not shrink.

Sexting. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#34317336)

Nice, so inherently kids will now be sexting 9-1-1 as well.

311 needs this at least as much as 911 (4, Interesting)

cduffy (652) | more than 2 years ago | (#34317432)

Hmm. I'd care about this much more for 311 (that is, the non-emergency catch-all city services line). Email wouldn't be bad either.

Seriously -- being able to send a photo of a pothole or a tree branch hanging too close to the road or someone illegally parked in a bike lane on a curve after a steep downhill (yes, there's an area on my commute matching exactly that description) with a GPS tag on the photo and a line or two of text would be much more convenient than pulling over and spending 5 minutes trying to figure out the address, walk the operator through deciding how to file the ticket (is it an immediate safety hazard or a maybe-next-week issue?), etc.

Other way (3, Informative)

wraithguard01 (1159479) | more than 2 years ago | (#34317496)

I'm a volunteer firefighter, and our dispatch center already sends us texts, as well as the typical page out over radio. That system proves incredibly useful for us. There is no way for us to text back through the system though, and the number is not a 911 number, it's a normal SMS short code number. Of course, going the other way is a different situation entirely, but my point is, I think that this shows that it is inevitable that texting is going to soon become a part of normal 911 operations.
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