Oops: First Text to 911 May Have Come From a Driver
And if so, that's illegal
By John Johnson, Newser Staff
Posted May 16, 2014 4:56 PM CDT

(Newser) – A 911 dispatcher in Pennsylvania's Allegheny County received a milestone message yesterday—the county's first-ever text to 911. One problem: It appears to have been sent by someone who was driving at the time, which is not only unwise but illegal in the state. “This is one that probably should have been better served by a phone call,” a county spokesperson tells TribLive. The text came from someone who was reporting a suspected drunken driver in Pittsburgh.

The spokesperson didn't have its exact language, but the texter "seemed to indicate that they themselves were driving," reports the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. It's possible, however, that the driver was stopped at the time or using a voice-to-text function. The county unveiled its system mainly to serve the hearing-impaired, and officials emphasize that others should text 911 only when a regular call is impossible or dangerous. The capability is slowly being rolled out across the nation.

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Showing 3 of 17 comments
May 17, 2014 7:35 PM CDT
It is probably also illegal to text 911 using ALL CAPITAL LETTERS and lots of exclamation points!!!!!!!!!!!!!
May 17, 2014 6:18 PM CDT
I text quite a bit while driving. Hands free voice to text. It's really simple on Windows Phone 8, don't know about other phones. I never have to take my eyes off of the road. This could have been the case here.
Bill Herman
May 17, 2014 10:26 AM CDT
You don't know they were driving. They may well have pulled over and stopped first. In Calif we see emergency messages on our highways requesting we do the same and report "alleged" (LOL) DUIs. Somewhat of an ironic message asking for a driver to send a message. Of course the law says you cannot do so while driving but . . . ?