The Federal Communications Commission said the nation’s four largest wireless carriers have agreed to make emergency 911 texts available nationwide by May 2014.
Rollouts of the texting system are expected next year.
The agency said that under the agreement with AT&T, Verizon, Overland Park-based Sprint and T-Mobile, more than 90 percent of U.S. cellphone users will be able to access emergency services by sending a text message to 911.
The FCC said this could help people in emergencies when a voice call could put the caller in danger. Texting could also aid a person with disabilities who is unable to make a voice call.
However, the FCC said people should always make a voice call to 911 during an emergency if they can.