Cell phone emergency siren test sent to every phone in country could wreak havoc
Motorists have been warned their cellphones will sound an emergency siren within weeks.
As part of a nationwide test to alert Brits to life-threatening situations, a loud 10-second tone will be sent to all mobile phones on Sunday April 23 – a system announced last month by Oliver Dowden, the Cabinet Secretary.
However, it was feared that this siren would wreak havoc on the roads as drivers could be distracted by the alarm and cause an accident.
And experts are concerned the “lifeline” phones of victims of domestic violence will be exposed over warnings from partners, while football stadiums could descend into chaos.
Because of these concerns, discussions have been held with the transport sector, domestic violence charities and sports officials, as well as the police, fire and ambulance services about the process.
People who know they will be in the car for that time have the option to turn off the alarm by going into their phone settings and declining the option to get the blast sound.
But if you leave it on, all you have to do is click “OK” to get the phone working again
Some victims of domestic violence who use “lifeline” phones hidden from their abusers could be at risk if the siren reveals their devices.
Meanwhile, the Football Association has asked that the warning not be broadcast during the televised FA Cup semi-final.
The deployment of this alert, which has been in the works for over a decade, will have people’s phones blinking and making very loud noises by the end of the month.
It pings even if your device is muted.
It was designed to alert people to dangerous life-threatening events such as wildfires, floods or earthquakes, as government ministers hope this will help get these types of messages out to everyone much faster.
Officials have met with automotive organization RAC to discuss how drivers can reduce risks to avoid car accidents as a result of the warning.
Separately, safety campaigners have warned the siren could distract drivers, with the AA’s president questioning the decision.
Edmund King has said there are many inexperienced drivers on the roads on Sunday and this can cause “panic” on the roads.
This is despite reports that the notification will be made in the evening as the roads are expected to be less busy than normal.
He said: “If they have the phone in the car and there is a strange noise, there could be some kind of panic.
“Even on a hands-free kit, that odd noise could mean they’re picking up the phone.
“So there is no doubt that some drivers could be distracted.”
Highway signs will be used in the run-up to the test to warn drivers not to check or use their phones.
And ministers have approved a major publicity campaign to inform the public about the siren.
It was feared that this siren would wreak havoc on the roads as drivers could be distracted by the alarm and cause an accident. This is because it is illegal to hold and use a cell phone while driving
Luckily, people who know they’ll be in the car for that time have the option to turn off the alarm by going into their phone settings and declining the option to get the blast sound.
But if you leave it on, all you have to do is click “OK” to get the phone working again.
However, it is illegal to hold and use a mobile phone while driving – and caught doing so can be penalized with six penalty points and a £200 fine.
Although it is hoped that people will keep up the warning as it has the benefit of alerting people to possible life-threatening situations.
The warning has already been implemented in parts of Europe, the US, Canada and Japan. It can also be used to alert people to ongoing terrorist attacks.
A trial of the service in the UK has already been conducted in East Suffolk and Reading.
But UK officials have acknowledged the need for more information on what kind of alerts would be issued if the government eventually used the system to warn of attacks or dangerous situations.
How do I turn off the notification?
If you have an iPhone, you should go to your notification settings and turn off both “Extreme Alerts” and “Severe Alerts”.
Android users have it even easier as all they have to do is turn off “Wireless Emergency Alerts” in their notification settings.
Some links in this article may be affiliate links. If you click on this, we may earn a small commission. This helps us fund This Is Money and keep it free to use. We do not write articles to promote products. We do not allow a business relationship to compromise our editorial independence.
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/money/cars/article-11933609/Mobile-phone-emergency-siren-test-sent-phone-country-spark-havoc.html?ns_mchannel=rss&ns_campaign=1490&ito=1490 Cell phone emergency siren test sent to every phone in country could wreak havoc