When you call 911 from a mobile phone, software at the carrier and dispatch center triangulates your location. But in places where cell towers are widely spaced, like rural Pacific County, Washington, it doesn't work so well.
With hordes of eclipse chasers expected to pull out their phones to share the memorable experience next week, wireless carriers are deploying temporary mobile cell towers in Oregon and Idaho to boost capacity in the path of the solar eclipse.
Washington state lawmakers sent a distracted driving crackdown to the governor's desk late Wednesday. And lawmakers in Oregon are steadily steering their own version of this through legislative committees.
If you spend any time on the road, you've no doubt noticed erratic or dangerous driving by people using mobile phones behind the wheel. But ongoing efforts in Idaho and Washington state to tighten the rules on cell phone use while driving are stalling out.
Oregon cellphone users who don't have a monthly contract will soon pay a new tax when they refill their minutes. A law that takes effect this month levies a 75 cent transaction tax on prepaid minutes. The money will fund 911 services.