Lawmakers get ahead of emergency prank texting - WKRN News 2

Lawmakers get ahead of emergency prank texting

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. -

In the near future, 911 dispatchers will begin taking emergency text messages.

The Federal Communications Commission says the nation's four largest wireless carriers have agreed to relay text messages to emergency centers by May of 2014.

Tennessee will lead the way as the AT&T pilot state.

While texting could be better in situations when the call could put a caller in danger, some Tennessee lawmakers fear it may also increase the number of phony messages to communication centers.

Senator Ken Yager is sponsoring a bill that would make it a crime to text message a non-emergency to 911 dispatchers.

"What we're trying to do here is have a technology neutral bill that anticipates the changes that are coming that will allow people to text, but also protect our resources from abuse of non-emergency texting that unfortunately may occur," said Sen. Yager.

Under the present law, it is a Class C misdemeanor offense for a person to call 911 for any reason other than to report an emergency.

Lawmakers will consider the bill on Tuesday.

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