Ownership of Devices That May Be Distracting if Used While Driving

Wireless or cellular phones are the most common potentially distracting devices owned by drivers. Six out of ten (60%) drivers in the United States report that they have a wireless or cellular phone. Slightly less than one in seven (15%) drivers have wireless remote Internet or e-mail access, while one in eight (12%) report having a beeper or pager. Fewer than one in ten drivers reports having a Personal Data Assistant (PDA) (8%). While the types of in-car telematic systems vary, reported ownership of either an in-car navigation system or crash avoidance safety system is quite low at 5%. [Figure 3-A]

Ownership of Devices That May Be Distracting - by Gender

While male and female drivers are equally likely to report having a wireless or cellular phone, male drivers are more likely to have a beeper or pager (16% as compared to 9% of females), or a PDA (10% vs. 7%). [Figure 3-B]

Ownership of Devices That May Be Distracting - by Age

While technological devices are often adopted more heavily by the young with use dwindling off as one ages, two thirds (66%) of those age 16-45 report wireless phone ownership, and 60% of those age 46-64 do. Wireless phone use is lower among those over age 64, but 39% of drivers this age report having a wireless or cell phone. [Figure 3-C]

About one in ten drivers between the ages of 16-45 report having a PDA, with use dropping to 6% among 46-64 year olds and to 3% among those age 65 and older. Wireless remote Internet or e-mail access shows a similar trend, with those under age 30 reporting the highest use (21%), falling to about one in six among those age 30-64, and dropping considerably to just 6% among those over age 64.

With the exception of drivers age 16-20, among whom reported use is slightly higher (9%), use of in-car navigation or crash avoidance systems is similar across age groups (about 5%).

While nearly one out of six (16%) drivers under age 21 report having a pager or beeper, presence of these devices drops to 11% among drivers in their 20s. Beeper or pager ownership jumps again among those in their 30s and early 40s to 17%, while just 11% of those 46-64 have one. As is true of the other technologies measured, only a small proportion of those age 65 or older report having one of these devices (2%).