A Look at Cell Phones While Driving
say their cell phones aid them during emergencies and
fill in their free time.
But many also report driving unsafely while on their
cells and they say they don't like the new intrusions
and public annoyances cell phones bring to their lives
— not to mention their monthly bills.
The cell phone has become an integral and, for some,
essential communications tool that has helped owners
gain help in emergencies. Fully 74 percent of the Americans
who own mobile phones say they have used their hand-held
device in an emergency and gained valuable help.
|"More than a quarter of cell phone owners (28%) admit they sometimes do not drive as safely as they should while they use their mobile devices."
Another striking impact of mobile technology is that
Americans are using their cell phones to shift they
way they spend their time. Some 41 percent of cell phone
owners say they fill in free time when they are traveling
or waiting for someone by making phone calls. And 44
percent say they wait to make most of their cell calls
for the hours when they do not count against their "anytime" minutes in their basic calling plan.
At the same time, there are new challenges associated
with cell phone use. More than
a quarter of cell phone owners (28 percent) admit they sometimes
do not drive as safely as they should while they use
their mobile devices. Among cell phone users,
men (32 percent) are more likely than women (25 percent) to admit
they sometimes don't drive as safely as they should.
Furthermore, 82 percent of all Americans and 86 percent
of cell users report being irritated at least occasionally
by loud and annoying cell users who conduct their calls
in public places. Indeed, nearly one in ten cell phone
owners (8 percent) admit they themselves have drawn criticism
or irritated stares from others when they are using
their cell phones in public.
When it comes to the features Americans would like to
add to their cell phones, the desire for maps tops the
charts by a clear margin. Fully 47 percent of cell owners
say they would like this feature and 38 percent say
they would like to have instant messages from select
friends sent to their cells. Some 24 percent of cell
owners say they would like to use their phones to conduct
searches for services such as movie listings, weather
reports, and stock quotes. And a similar 24 percent
of cell owners would like to add email to their mobile-phone
These findings emerge in a national survey of cell phone
owners by the Pew Research Center's Pew Internet & American Life Project, the Associated Press and AOL.
The findings provide a detailed picture of the role
of the cell phone in modern life, including how the
use of cell phones has helped people become more spontaneous
and prolific in their communication patterns. Half the
survey was conducted among cell phone owners on their
cell phones — one of the largest such samples ever conducted.
It is likely that many of the behaviors reported here
will intensify in coming years as more people become
attached to and reliant on their mobile phones. Indeed,
23 percent of those who currently have landline phones say
they are very likely or somewhat likely to convert to
being only cell phone users.
At times, mobile phones are used abet some white lies:
22 percent of cell owners say they are not always truthful
about exactly where they are when they are on the phone.
Younger users are much more likely to say they are not
always honest about where they are: 39 percent of cell
users ages 18-29 say that.
Pew Internet & American Life