Lifestyle & Belief

"Butt dials" account for nearly 40 percent of New York's 911 calls


A customer looks at a white and a black iPhone 4.


David Paul Morris

People who keep their cell phones in their pockets run the risk of accidental pocket dials, also known as butt dials or butt calls. And 911 workers are starting to get annoyed.

New York City's emergency phone system is being flooded with nearly 4 million butt calls a year, the New York Daily News reported. Of the 10.4 million calls made to 911 in the city in 2010, 38 percent were "short calls" of 19 seconds or less. Officials determined that the "short calls" were accidental dials. 

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The news came in light of a new report on New York City's 911 system, released by Mayor Bloomberg last week, NBC reported on Saturday. The report found that the emergency system is plagued by delays and errors. But the errors aren't all the fault of the butt callers. The report accuses the communications system in general of being ill-prepared to handle a huge emergency, such as a terrorist attack. 

"NYPD call takers did not receive adequate training for (Unified Call Taking) responsibilities and are not proficient at handling FDNY related activity," the report says, according to NBC.

As for the butt calls, some people have suggested that the city track the accidental callers. Another idea is to increase public awareness about pocket dials, NBC reported today.

The news follows a report from CBS last year, which said that 20 percent of wireless emergency phone calls made in Evanston were also pocket dials.