FCC Claims Butt Dialing Puts A Strain On 911 Emergency Services, Approximately 84 Million Calls A Year Accidental

We've all been victims of inadvertent phone calls resulting from a phenomenon known as butt dialing or pocket dialing. It's funny when it happens, though it's not always a laughing matter. According to Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Commissioner Michael O'Reilly, 70 percent of 911 calls are made by wireless devices, and out of those, over half are the result of pocket dialing.

"If my anecdotal experiences are remotely accurate, it would mean that approximately 84 million 911 calls are year pocket dials," O'Reilly says. "This is a huge waste of resources, raises the cost of providing 911 services, depletes PSAP morale, and increases the risk that legitimate 911 calls -- and first responders -- will be delayed.

iPhone in pocket
Image Source: Flickr (Gwyneth Anne Bronwynne)

If there's a solution to be had, the challenge is finding one that doesn't make it more difficult for people to dial 911 during legitimate emergency situations. One idea O'Reilly came up with is to text consumers whenever 911 is dialed by any active wireless devices.

"If consumers are alerted to the simple fact that they have dialed 911 accidentally, they may take precautions to prevent it from happening again. And such a text would not interfere with emergency services if consumers were facing an actual incident," O'Reilly explains.

Another solution he came up with is to impose penalties for repeat offenders.
Tags:  Mobile, smartphone, FCC