(AP) The Federal Communications Commission says the nation's four largest wireless carriers have agreed to make emergency 911 texts available nationwide by May 2014.
Major rollouts of the texting system are expected next year.
The agency said Thursday that under the agreement with AT&T, Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile, more than 90 percent of U.S. cellphone users would be able to access emergency services by sending a text message to 911.
The FCC says this could help people in emergency situations 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 says people should always make a voice call to 911 during an emergency if they can.