There are real emergencies and there are emergencies that exist only in people's minds. Of the 240 million calls the United States 911 system handles each year, a staggering amount— more than half in many cities — have absolutely nothing to do with life or death [sources: Sampson, National Emergency Number Association ]. Millions of gadget-impaired Americans accidentally "butt dial" 911 with their pocketed cell phones. Kids call to complain about their dinner. And highly intoxicated people call 911 to report that the moon has morphed into a UFO.
Experts expect the problem to worsen as cell phone use increases. And "phantom dialing" (dialing unintentionally, with your butt or otherwise) is the worst culprit [source: Sampson]. But not the only one. We've scoured the news reports and late-night talk shows to find the 10 worst reasons people have called 911. As ridiculous as these calls are, remember kids (and immature adults), it's a crime to make a nonemergency call to 911. Abusing the system can bring fines and even jail time. Or worse, you end up in a list like this one.