Reporting a crime or life-threatening situation could just be a text message away. Text messages are silent and quick, and are now poised to widen 911 accessibility to millions of Americans with disabilities. Text-to-911 services have been tested in Iowa, North Carolina, and Vermont, saving lives, preventing suicides, and stopping domestic abuse.
By May 15, 2014, text-to-911 will become available to 90 percent of American wireless consumers, thanks to recent actions by the Federal Communications Commission and the wireless industry.
The service will be a complement to, not a substitute for, regular voice calls to 911. But steps are also being taken to eventually enable the transmission of photos and videos to 911 call centers, fully harnessing smartphone technology to save American lives.