Reps. Susan W. Brooks (R., Ind.) and Anna G. Eshoo (D., Calif.) today introduced the National Non-Emergency Mobile Number Act (HR 5700), which would direct the FCC to take steps to facilitate the creation of a unified wireless short code for critical, but non-emergency, situations on highways.
“This commonsense, bipartisan bill ensures our 911 telecommunicators can focus on responding quickly and efficiently to phone calls reporting time-sensitive and urgent emergency matters,” said Rep. Brooks. “When people are traveling from state to state, the short non-emergency number people call to report an instance deserving of attention but may not classify as an emergency varies across state lines. Designating a code for this specific use promotes a more cohesive and effective public safety response. This bill will make it easier for travelers to contact public safety officials when reporting non-emergency situations and enables our 911 telecommunicators to focus on helping people who are dealing with an emergency.”
“In an interconnected nation, it is essential that we have a streamlined communication system across all states,” said Rep. Eshoo. “The National Non-Emergency Mobile Number Act simplifies travelers’ access to assistance in non-dire times, regardless of what state they’re in and eases unnecessary call traffic to 911. I’m proud to partner with Rep. Brooks on this straightforward legislation that will allow emergency call centers to focus on urgent matters and save the lives of those in danger.”
“Currently, there are at least eighteen different wireless short codes in operation across 29 states throughout the country,” according to a news release on the bill. “Mobile wireless non-emergency numbers primarily used on highways allow individuals, especially the traveling public, to quickly and easily contact public safety officials (typically state highway patrols) in critical times of need that do not exactly rise to the emergency level, such as car malfunctions. These numbers shift unnecessary calls away from 911 systems to help with congestion and allow emergency call centers, or public safety answering points (PSAPs), to focus on more significant matters.” It added that the bill “would help consolidate the multiple numbers existing today, thereby reducing traveler confusion and hastening response times.”
“I applaud Representatives Brooks and Eshoo for introducing the National Non-Emergency Mobile Number Act,” said FCC Commissioner Mike O’Rielly. “This is a commonsense bill that will bring uniformity to wireless short codes used today by states to redirect non-emergency calls on the highway away from 9-1-1 call centers and to state highway patrols. Just as we have one, unified number to call in times of need, it is logical to have one unified short code to call when travelers see car malfunctions or suspected drunk drivers along the highway. This bill is an important first step in eliminating traveler confusion and potentially to saving lives.”- Paul Kirby, firstname.lastname@example.org