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Tennessee bill would create statewide "text-to-911" service by 2023

The bill, HB0173, would require emergency communications districts to create systems that allow people to send text messages for emergency service.

A bill introduced by Eddie Mannis in the Tennessee House of Representatives, HB0173, would create a statewide "text-to-911" service by 2023.

It would require all emergency communications districts in the state to enact a system allowing people to send text messages for emergency services by Jan. 1, 2023. Mannis said that other states already have a 911 texting option and that implementing one in Tennessee could save lives.

The service can help people who are hearing impaired and help save lives if people are in situations when they can't speak on the phone, such as in domestic violence or kidnapping emergencies, Mannis said.

"If we can turn the tide on that and save lives, that's the intent of 911 anyway," Mannis said, the District representative. "Texting will just allow it to be a little easier to communicate in those situations."

The bill has several steps before it can become law — it has only been introduced and has not entered a committee. 

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