destinyland writes: The Department of Transportation has announced "Next Generation 911," which will update the technology for receiving public communications system to receive emergency reports via text messages and even video. "The Nation's current 9-1-1 system is designed around telephone technology," reads an official statement, noting that it "cannot handle the text, data, images and video that are increasingly common in personal communications and critical to future transportation safety and mobility advances." One technology blog notes reports that "some students involved in the 2007 Virginia Tech shootings tried texting 911, but the messages could not be received." The new system could also interface with automatic alarm systems and medical monitoring devices, and could make life easier for users with disabilities (though there's also a possibility of more false alarms). The Department of Transportation is currently seeking comments from the public, and they'll be releasing a white paper on the upgrade proposal within the next 12 weeks.