Americans Worked, Paid Taxes, and Died Needlessly – 911 System Fails Us in 2015! – Why?

Americans Worked, Paid Taxes, and Died Needlessly – 911 System Fails Us in 2015! – Why?

February, 2015

Dear Care for Crash Victims Community Members:
The 911 Broken Line

On Monday February 23, 2015, USA Today published an excellent Investigative Report on the failures of America’s 911 “system” to save us.  It begins with:

“As water filled her sinking SUV, Shanell Anderson did what anyone would do. She tried the doors. They wouldn’t budge. She dialed 911 on her cellphone, telling the operator exactly where she was.

Anderson, 31, was delivering newspapers near Atlanta around 4 a.m.that day in late December, so she knew the cross streets, even the ZIP code. She repeated her location over and over, but it didn’t help. Because Anderson’s call was routed through the nearest cellphone tower to a neighboring county’s 911 system, the dispatcher couldn’t find the streets on her maps. Worse yet, the system couldn’t get a fix on the cellphone’s location before the call ended.

In the agonizing final seconds of the call, Anderson’s words are muffled by the sounds of pond water. The dispatcher asks for the address again, then utters, “I lost her.”

It took 20 minutes for rescuers to get to Anderson and pull the 31-year old suburban Atlanta woman from her car, barely alive. She died a week and a half later in the hospital. Her 911 call is one of millions that fail to give police, fire and ambulance dispatchers a quick fix on location, a technology shortfall that can leave callers like Anderson in grave danger….”  

Your chance of 911 getting a quick fix on location ranges from as low as 10% to as high as 95%, according to hundreds of pages of local, state and federal documents obtained and reviewed by USA TODAY and more than 40 Gannett newspapers and television stations across the country….” 

The quest to make cellphone calls to 911 more useful to emergency crews began in the mid-1990s. The FCC set a deadline: Two-thirds of cellphone calls would transmit location to 911 by 2002. That rule was written when cellphone calls were mostly made outdoors, and the industry says it can meet the goal when applied only to outdoor calls. The deadline got pushed back several times since then….”

“An estimated 10,000 people each year would be saved with accurate location standards from indoor cellphone calls,” Molitor wrote, citing an FCC estimate for the number of lives that could be saved by a one-minute reduction in emergency response times. “Whatever hang-ups they have cannot be more important than 10,000 lives.”


The 911 Timeline of Hope

March 27, 1997  Briefing to NHTSA Administrator Dr. Ricardo Martinez, Emergency Physician. See

1999    Based in part on that research, the Wireless Communicationsand Public Safety Act of 1999, became law and specified 9-1-1 as the “universal emergency telephone number.”  As we wrote in our NHTSA published paper:

“The Act, based in part on the research findings reported herein, states that “emerging technologies can be a critical component…to reduce emergency response times and provide appropriate care”.

The Act’s first finding states:
“…the establishment and maintenance of an end-to-end communications infrastructure among members of the public, emergency safety, fire service and law enforcement officials,emergency dispatch providers,  transportation officials, and hospital

emergency and trauma care facilities will reduce response times for the delivery of emergency care, assist in delivering appropriate care, and thereby prevent fatalities, substantially reduce the severity
and extent of injuries, reduce time lost from work, and save thousands of lives and billions of dollars.”
Also in 1999, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) issued rules for Enhanced 9-1-1 service for wireless calls to automatically
provide location information to emergency dispatchers.”  See
2005NHTSA published ourpaper on the importance of time, information, and new tools to help crash victims survive.  See
2013  My second petition was delivered to the Federal Interagency Committee on EMS (FICEMS) and the National Emergency Medical Services Advisory Committee (NEMSAC).  I asked please recommend a National 10 year Goal for an end to the waiting that contributes to countless thousands of needless deaths.  See
For Too Many Americans 911 Hopes Remain Unfulfilled 
For crash victims, rescue is too little, too late, too often, for too many Americans – year after year, day after day, – to this day!
Since 1997 about 660,000 Americans have died of their crash injuries in the U.S.A. — more than 50% of them were “Not Taken” to any facility for emergency medical care.  And another estimated 35 million Americans suffered crash injuries. Since 1997 the number of Americans who have died of crash injuries plus the number who suffered crash injuries now exceeds the number of Americans that died and were injured in all wars since 1776. That number is 2,717,993.  See and
Continued Hope for Building a Safer America
*  The U.S.A. now has data for crash deaths by State for each year 1978 – 2011 that were not taken to any facility for emergency medical treatment.  Year after year more than 50% of crash deaths still are “Not Taken” in NHTSA’s terminology.  See*  The U.S.A. now has crash deaths mapping tools by Congressional District for the past decade (2002 – 2011).  These tools are available free to all media.  See
*  The U.S.A. now has a growing understanding of the need to free government agencies from regulatory capture and control of safety policies so that America gets the protection it needs – here in the U.S.A. See
So thanks and kudos to USA Today and its team of investigative reporters and editors for their excellent work!  They help show how we can and must do better protecting Americans by building a safer America – here in the U.S.A.  Today please, because it is about time!


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