blog home Distracted Driving AMBER Alerts on Your Smartphone: A Dangerous Necessity

AMBER Alerts on Your Smartphone: A Dangerous Necessity

By Ross Jurewitz on August 7, 2013

On Monday night, many smartphone users in California were extremely frightened by the piercing noise of their device, which had just received an AMBER Alert (America’s Missing: Broadcasting Emergency Response) around 6pm and again close to 11pm at night (PST). While some of us may have been faced with the startling situation while driving home or while sleeping, this notification that was created to help save lives could also ironically be the cause of a serious injury by distracting drivers with a text message.

Risky Distraction
Many Californians had no idea their phone had the notification ability, since Monday’s mobile AMBER Alert was the first time it was issued in California. After experiencing the first mobile notification, many people have voiced opposition against the alert system because of its loud disturbance that may pose a hazard for drivers, workers, and more. To fully understand the current mobile alert system, let’s review its benefits and drawbacks:


  • Free text-message service for mobile users.
  • Provides direct communication from the government on crucial events.
  • Potentially sends alert to the kidnapper that may prevent further wrongdoing.
  • Entire community is aware and becomes investigators for abducted children.
  • Increases law enforcement’s ability to locate witnesses to solve cases promptly.
  • Greater ability to save the lives of those in danger.


  • Very intrusive notification sound.
  • Notifications may happen very late or early in the day.
  • Startling notification may cause accident while driving, working, etc.
  • Notifications are not always relevant to users.
  • Notification sound is not customizable.
  • Users can turn off feature, which defeats the purpose.

Even though an instant AMBER Alert or other emergency alert on mobile devices is a great feature that may save children and/or adults in danger, the way the current notification system is set up may put a larger portion of the community at risk of injuries. Our law office strongly encourages the further improvement of the alert system to prevent a San Diego distracted driving accident or other possible harm.

To enable or disable emergency alerts, all iOS users can modify their preferences by scrolling to the bottom of notifications located under settings and most Android users can change these alerts through their messaging app by locating the emergency alerts under settings.

Ross Jurewitz

Ross Jurewitz is the founder and managing lawyer of the Jurewitz Law Group, a San Diego personal injury attorney law firm. These San Diego injury accident lawyers specialize in helping people seriously injured in a variety of accidents throughout San Diego County and California.

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