A new law that prevents establishments from forcing a guest to “dial out” before calling 911 went into effect late last week.
The new regulation applies to all businesses that require guests to press a number before entering in the phone number they wish to dial. Many hotels and restaurants used to require that a guest dial “9” before calling anyone outside the establishment, but that will no longer be the case.
The law received unanimous support after legislators heard the story of a young girl in Texas. In that case, the girl was in a hotel room when a man entered and stabbed her mother. Not knowing that she needed to dial “9” before hitting 911, the girl was unable to quickly reach the police. The girl’s mother died as a result of her wounds. Legislators in Illinois hope the new law will prevent a similar tragedy.
“When you dial those three digits you get to an emergency responder, you’re able to describe the situation. It will be of tremendous benefit to the emergency responders,” said Illinois State Representative Dan Belser.
Businesses that do not comply with the new law will face fines of $1,000 to $5,000. Those businesses that have been deemed incapable of complying based on their current phone setup will be required to follow the law the next time they update their phone system.
Many Illinois hotels said they have already changed their phone system to adhere to the new regulations.
Related source: KMOV