butt call
n. An unintended phone call placed by sitting on one's cell phone.
Have you ever picked up your telephone only to hear noise on the other end? Or maybe you heard bits of conversation or singing over some static?

If you were lucky, you recognized the voice of someone you knew. That's when you realized what had happened: Your friend had accidentally pressed the redial or speed-dial button on their cellular phone, which then placed a call to you.

Maybe the phone bumped up against something in a purse or briefcase, or rubbed up against a seat belt. Or maybe the phone fell on the floor. Maybe the person just sat on their phone—which explains why some industry insiders call inadvertent dialing "butt calls."
—David Coursey, “Butt calls: Let's put an end to 'em,” ZDNet AnchorDesk, October 08, 2003
My embarrassment was not diminished when I found out what the California Highway Patrol calls such inadvertent 911 calls, most of which come from cell phones with a one-button 911 calling feature.

"We call what you did a 'butt call,'" CHP telecommunications supervisor Bill Harry told me — a term derived from the act of dialing a cell phone by sitting on it.

And how big a problem, I asked Bill, are "butt calls"?

"Huge," he said.

In California, almost all 911 calls from cellular phones go to the CHP, while landline 911 calls go to local dispatchers. In Orange County, the CHP communications center in Irvine gets about 900,000 911 calls a year — and believe it or not, roughly 40 percent of those calls are mistakes and misdials by people fumbling with their cell phones. Forty percent!
—Gordon Dillow, “Cell users should get hip to 911 'butt calls',” Orange County Register, October 02, 2003
2003 (earliest)
About 55% of calls these days to Nashville's 911 center are made on cell phones. …

Often, calls are inadvertent, such as when people sit on their cell phones — known in the business as "butt calls." Many phones will automatically dial 911 if the "1" or "9" is held down.

"You get to listen to someone's radio sometimes as they drive across the country," Brown said. "The majority of our 911 calls are accidents."
—Anne Paine, “Better response time at 911 center hailed,” The Tennessean, June 14, 2003
A man picked up and Cucinelli explained she's a 911 call-taker. The man wondered why she called and she said the emergency speed-dial button on his phone must have been pressed. He told her the phone was in a bag. She asked if he had an emergency. He said no. They disconnected.

Spoerl said this happens all the time. He calls them pocket calls.

"They increase in the winter," he said. His primary service area includes two ski resorts, Stowe and Smuggler's Notch, which attract lots of visitors carrying cell phones. The 911 speed dial button is pushed accidentally, he said, "and you hear them laughing on the lift."
—Nancy Remsen, “Emergency's evolution,” The Burlington Free Press (Burlington, VT), November 16, 2003
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