Harmful Consumer Wireless Behavior and Practices

Today’s wireless devices are amazing tools that empower people. Our wireless phones, mobile phones, tablets, phablets and more allow us to seamlessly communicate, as well as benefit from all Internet features and functions. As a result, we have integrated these wireless capabilities into our daily lives. Such increased mobility, however , has led to troubling behavior by several users that deserve everyone’s attention. During my recent trips across our great nation, I was infuriated to know of continued wireless device improper use. For many reasons, some consumers possess yet to see or understand that their own risky wireless practices and behavior can harm themselves and other people.

Distracted Driving – The number of people that are killed and injured by sidetracked driving is staggering. For instance, the National Safety Council estimates that there have been over 810, 000 accidents in 2014, or about a single every 30 seconds, involving text messaging on wireless phones by motorists. To put it in more granular form, the Arizona Department of General public Safety found that during a five-month period earlier this year, 10 people passed away and 380 people were injured due to distracted driving. And the problem might be getting worse. A 2013 AT& T survey indicated that 49 percent of commuters admitted in order to texting while driving, up through 40 percent three years ago.

The good news is that a number of initiatives are being conducted nationwide to educate customers, especially our young drivers, concerning the perils of distracted driving and the devastation that can result. Clearly, more must be done but every step, no matter how small, helps. Here are just a few types of the many laudable efforts from this 12 months alone:

  • In June, a Glacier Park Elementary (WA) student, Avery Esses, submitted the winning poster in a contest that was turned into a billboard to warn of the dangers associated with distracted driving sponsored by the Wa State Patrol, Maple Valley Law enforcement, Tahoma School District and King County Emergency Medical Services.
  • In May, Colonie Main High School (NY) student, Haylie Szemplinski, created an anti-distracted driving billboard sponsored by the South Colonie Schools Art Department and Lamar Visuals. This is the third year for the task.
  • Create Actual Impact in CA concluded their own contest last week for full-time students between the ages of 14 plus 22 to create an original work (e. g., video, music, creative writing and artwork) promoting solutions to sidetracked driving.

These are just a few examples of the many efforts by local and state officials and the private sector to educate American customers about the dangers of distracted generating, especially those involving wireless products. I welcome input on other ways to get the word out to eliminate wireless device usage while driving.

Pocket Dialing 911 – Dedicated plus hard-working public safety officials who else answer and respond to Americans in times of need are being inundated by unintentional wireless calls to 911. Generally referred to as pocket dialing (and sometimes as butt dialing), this takes place when insufficiently secured devices are bumped and automatically dial 911. By putting wireless phones in such places as purses and pouches, consumers can unwittingly dial emergency personnel. While the full scope from the problem is not known, my visits to the New York City and Anchorage Public Service Answering Points suggest that roughly 70 percent of 911 calls are made by wireless devices and 50 % or more are the result of pocket calling. If my anecdotal experiences are remotely accurate, it would mean that approximately 84 million 911 calls per year are pocket dials. This is a large waste of resources, raises the price of providing 911 services, depletes PSAP morale, and increases the risk that will legitimate 911 calls – plus first responders – will be postponed.

Clearly any solution shouldn’t make it harder for consumers in order to dial 911 in times of need, yet we must find ways to educate customers about better securing their wireless devices. I’m confident that if customers realize that they are putting their buddies, neighbors, and loved ones at better risk, then they will change their practices. One option to consider would be pertaining to wireless providers or PSAPs in order to voluntarily text a consumer whenever 911 is dialed by any energetic wireless device. If consumers are notified to the simple fact that they have dialed 911 accidentally, they may take precautions to avoid it from happening again. And such a text would not interfere with emergency services if consumers were facing an actual incident. Alternatively, perhaps there exists a way to impose some type of penalty charge on consumers that repeatedly send illegitimate 911 calls to PSAPs.

Non-Service-Initiated Wireless Cell phones and 911 – Current FCC rules require that all wireless devices are capable of reaching 911 emergency services even if the devices shall no longer be associated with a wireless service plan or even a wireless provider (known as non-service-initiated, or NSI, devices). In other words, in case a wireless phone has battery power, it must be able to dial 911. Whenever enacted, the rules were intended to enable consumers to reach 911 PSAPs when, for example , wireless service accounts were temporarily suspended for failure to pay for or if using spare cell phones kept in case of emergency. Unfortunately, the guidelines have led to certain unintended implications. In particular, public safety officials possess told me that some consumers are inadvertently dialing 911, while others are intentionally prank calling 911. What is most troubling is that, because there is no service agency attached to the wireless device, the location and caller are untraceable. This really is extremely disturbing. Whether inadvertent or intentional, the Commission needs to evaluation its existing rules to ensure that they cannot enable unwanted 911 calls in order to emergency personnel.

In March 2013, the Commission’s General public Safety and Homeland Security Agency released a Public Notice wanting to refresh the record in this continuing. In particular, the Bureau also wanted additional comment on: (1) the nature plus extent of fraudulent 911 calls made from NSI devices; (2) problems with blocking NSI devices utilized to make fraudulent 911 calls, plus suggestions for making this a more viable option for carriers; and (3) other possible means to stop fraudulent 911 calls from NSI devices. As part of this process, the Commission received comments through NENA: The 9-1-1 Association and other public safety officials seeking to finish the FCC’s requirement for NSI products to be 911-capable.

To put this problem in perspective, consider a few of the filings in the record. For instance, the Tennessee Emergency Communications Board posted comments that highlighted a statewide survey examining the scope from the problem. To its dismay, the Board determined the problem was “worse than we realized, ” plus indicated that “one child made 84 calls in one night, which nearly immobilized the call center’s ability to receive actual emergency calls. ” In addition , the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials-International, Inc., indicated that will, “The information already in the record of this proceeding demonstrates the serious problems posed by such calls, which will only get worse with widespread deployment of wireless IP telephony devices. ”

I am hopeful that the Commission will deal with this in the near future.

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The simple truth is that the consumer behavior identified over generally can’t be solved with new laws and regulations. In fact , 44 declares already have some form of a ban on text messaging for drivers. Instead, the real important to minimizing the harms brought on by such practices is consumer schooling and outreach. I plan to continue my efforts to spread the word that these practices can’t be tolerated, as well as engage on whether the Percentage can take positive steps in a non-regulatory manner to reduce their likelihood.

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