Nearly 40 percent of 911 calls are mistakenly dialed from your butts

Butt dials from phone in back pocket

We’ve all dialed numbers we didn’t mean to when we have our phones in our back pockets. I’ve certainly gotten a one-minute voicemail that consisted of nothing but static and jumbled noise, or even the sound of the caller talking to someone else while unaware that their phone has called me. This phenomenon is known as butt dialing, or pocket dials, and the phones usually call random string of numbers or a selection off your contacts list. But according to recent reports, nearly 40 percent of 911 emergency calls in New York City stem from your behinds, and that’s no prank at all.

In the Big Apple, about 38 percent of approximately 10.4 million calls to 911 in 2010 were considered accidental or false alarms. These calls were “19 seconds or less” with no response on the other line when the dispatcher picked up. The data, provided by New York Daily News, calculates that this average of 10,700 false calls a day has caused more time wasted by dispatchers than the 3,495,716 calls in which police cars were actually sent to the real emergencies. The number continued to increase in the first quarter of 2011, bumping the percentage of 911 butt dials to 39 percent. These percentages of butt dials contribute to slower overall response time by 911 NYPD dispatchers.

Considering how the accidental dials are causing a huge waste of resource, it’s surprising to see that the city has not done much to curb the false alarms. There are small plans for 911 dispatchers to track butt dial numbers to call them back and alert them of the accident, but that seems like it should be someone else’s job when officers should be paying attention to incoming calls. Honestly, what can you do to make calling 911 on a real emergency more efficient while proving you called them on purpose? Perhaps making the dialer press one more number to authenticate could help, but will the extra few seconds actually do harm in a time-sensitive emergency situation?

While the city figures out its own solution to this odd problem, remember to keep your phone screen locked to prevent emergency dials. If you can, keep your phones in your front pocket so you won’t accidentally sit on them either. We know you can’t help it sometimes, and you don’t mean to waste officers’ time, but every little effort helps.

Have you ever made or received an embarrassing butt dial? Tell us your stories in the comments!

Image Credit: Flickr / twicepix

Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: A.I. selfie drones, ‘invisible’ wireless chargers

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Mobile

Google rolls out Night Sight to Pixel 3 and 3 XL camera app

Google's latest flagships, the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL, are now official and we have all the details from the October 9 event in New York City and Paris. Here's everything we know about the Google Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL.
Gaming

‘Marvel’s Spider-Man: Turf Wars’ sees Spidey confront the villainous Hammerhead

The second part of Marvel's Spider-Man's The City That Never Sleeps DLC swings into action on November 20. Titled Turf Wars, the new storyline is focused on Hammerhead, who is waging war across New York City.
Emerging Tech

Michigan’s former transportation chief has some advice for wannabe smart cities

After 31 years as Michigan’s transportation director, Kirk Steudle has seen it all, particularly with smart city projects. He spoke with Digital Trends recently about what makes smart cities work, and offers advice along the way.
Smart Home

New wireless power kit puts a charge into your smart speakers via infrared light

Wireless power technology is coming fast, and Wi-Charge is leading the innovative trend with a new wireless power kit that can transform Amazon and Google smart speakers into fully functional, wire-free devices.
Smart Home

Save Smart: The Best Black Friday Smart Home Deals

The number of Black Friday sales can be overwhelming. Here are some of the best bang-for-your-buck deals you'll find this year on the most popular smart home products on the market.
News

Amazon’s new trade-in and recycling programs gives your gizmos a ‘second chance’

Amazon is generating a new level of sustainability into its platform with Amazon Second Chance, a new portal that encourages consumers to trade in and recycle their old electronic devices.
Smart Home

Amazon rejoins the fight against HIV/AIDS with a (Red) second-gen Echo

Now you can rock out to U2 and give to a good cause by buying Amazon's red Echo, a limited edition of the smart speaker that also donates money to the humanitarian organization Project (Red), founded by Bono.
Smart Home

Huawei could soon take on Google and Amazon with a new digital assistant

According to a report from CNBC, Huawei is working on a new digital assistant that could try to take on the likes of Google and Amazon's Alexa. Huawei already has a digital assistant in China, but the new one will be aimed at markets…
Smart Home

How to stream music from Google Home to Bluetooth speakers or headphones

Want to stream music on Google Home, but listen to it through a different speaker or a pair of headphones? Here's how to play streaming music on Google Home through Bluetooth headphones or a Bluetooth speaker.
Emerging Tech

Students who designed transforming smart home will compete in Solar Decathalon

Modular smart homes are all the rage, and now some students from Virginia Tech are putting their money on their FutureHAUS, a modular, solar-powered, transforming smart home they're taking to the Solar Decathlon in Dubai.
Deals

These Black Friday furniture deals offer up to 80 percent off

Retailers across all industries use Black Friday to offer incredible deals on everything from kitchen appliances, to full bedroom sets. As such, it’s the ideal time to upgrade your space with pieces that will make you feel more…
Smart Home

These holiday gadgets will make cooking your meal a breeze

Are you dreading the lengthy process of cooking a holiday dinner? Try these holiday gadgets to make the job of cooking much easier. These items will make for an easy, breezy meal.
Smart Home

The best washing machines make laundry day a little less of a chore

It takes a special kind of person to love doing laundry, but the right machine can help make this chore a little easier. Check out our picks for the best washing machines on the market right now.