If you're hearing or speech impaired, staying safe on the road is essential. Auto accidents can occur at any time and cause devastating injuries to you or your passengers. If you can't call emergency services for help because your hearing disability affects your speech or ability to hear over the phone, you won't receive the medical care you need right away. There are new communication services in the works for people with hearing impairments, including special cell phone services that allow you to text emergency services if you're in an accident. Text-to-911 is one service that you can use in the future.
A number of legal sources recommend that all drivers call 911 or the police immediately after getting into an accident, even if it's a minor fender bender. If you can't call and speak to a live person because of limitations in your speech and hearing, there may be a delay in reporting your accident or getting help for you or the other driver. A number of states now use text 911 technology to compensate for the issues above.
Before the new text technology emerged, all accident victims couldn't text emergency services for help. Calling 911 directly and speaking to emergency services isn't always easy for the hearing and speech impaired, especially if you rely on sign language to communicate. The new emergency service will eliminate communication problems by allowing you to text your location and name to emergency service responders.
The emergency text is directed to a dispatch call center, or Public Safety Answering Point, that accepts the new communication service. Once the call center receives the text, service providers physically call law enforcement and emergency workers to the scene of your accident. You receive the emergency care or law enforcement services you need.
Is Text-to-911 Available to Everyone Right Now?
Currently, text-to-911 services isn't available in every state. However, officials plan to make the system available to all states in the near future. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) expects all wireless providers to make the 911 service available on their electronic devices. If you're unsure if your state already adopted the 911 text service, contact your wireless provider by email or letter to find out.
An auto accident attorney, like Monohan & Blankenship, may also have some information about the service. A number of attorneys represent the hearing impaired during accident cases, so they may have updated information about the FCC's rules regarding text 911 services. If possible, have someone call to request information about the new text service for you.
For more details about staying safe on the road or if you need representation for an accident, email or have someone contact an auto accident attorney near you.