The Cell Phone Is an Emergency Tool, a Driving Distraction and a Public Annoyance

The Cell Phone Is an Emergency Tool, a Driving Distraction and a Public Annoyance

New findings from a national survey of cell phone owners by the Pew Research Center, the Associated Press and AOL provide a detailed picture of the role of the cell phone as an integral communications tool in modern life.

Seventy-four percent of the Americans who own mobile phones say they have used their hand-held device in an emergency and gained valuable help. But 32 percent of men and 25 percent of women admit they sometimes don't drive as safely as they should.

Americans are using their cell phones to shift the way they spend their time. Forty-one 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 cell calls for the hours when they do not count against their "anytime" minutes.

Eighty-two 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.

When it comes to the features Americans would like to add to their cell phones:

  • 47% of cell owners say they would like maps
  • 38% say they would like to have instant messages from select friends sent to their cells
  • 24% 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
  • 24% of cell owners would like to add email to their mobile-phone functionality
  • 35% already use text messaging features and another 13% would like to add that capacity
  • 19% of cell owners say they would like to add the capacity to take still pictures

Cell owners describe how they use their phones:

  • 52% of all cell owners say they keep their phone on all the time
  • 81% of cell-only users say the device is always on
  • 22% of cell owners say they are not always truthful about exactly where they are when they are on the phone.
  • 39% of cell users ages 18-29 are not always honest about where they say they are
  • 24% of cell-using adults report they often feel like they have to answer their cell phones even when it interrupts a meeting or a meal
  • 22% believe that "too many" people try to get in touch with them because others know they have a cell phone

Finally, 23% of those who currently have landline phones say they are very likely or somewhat likely to convert to being only cell phone users

For more about this report, please go here.

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