Tuesday, June 09, 2015

Dead zones in rural areas putting accident victims and those lost or injured while outdoors at risk

An estimated 10,000 dead zones exist in Southern California, many of them located in rural and remote areas where having cell phone reception could be the difference between life and death for victims of a vehicle accident or for those who run into trouble while experiencing the outdoors, Janet Zimmerman reports for The Orange County Register. (Federal Communications Commission graphic: Dead zones in Southern California)

Jeff Cohn, founder of DeadCellZones.com, which has a consumer-generated map of reception problem areas across the country, told Zimmerman, “There are millions of these locations where . . . people get into trouble because they’ve relied on their phone or didn’t have reception. It’s a big problem.”

Vincent Cox, who owns a telecommunications business in the Los Angeles area, "said any given city has about 85 percent coverage," but when people travel in outlying areas, they should assume they will not have service, Zimmerman writes.

That has led to a common theme in wilderness areas, with people reported missing, and later found—sometimes dead—in areas where there was no cell phone reception, Zimmerman writes. For instance, last month, a couple involved in a accident were missing for two weeks because there was no cell phone reception, and their vehicle was hidden from view in a remote, forested area. When they were finally found, one was dead and the other severely dehydrated, although expected to survive.

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