Cell phones are now the most prevalent electronic device among U.S. adults, with an 85% ownership rate, and 90% of all adults—including 62% of those ages 75 and older—living in a household with at least one working cell phone.
These are among the results of a new report just released by the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project, which explored ownership cell phones, computers, mp3 players and other electronic devices that are becoming pervasive in people’s lives.
Cell phones pose a problem since they are now responsible for nearly 5,500 people killed and half a million more injured in distracted driving crashes annually, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
The auto industry and electronics makers whose devices are enabling distracted driving show little interest in helping to curb this growing safety problem.
However, roughly one in 11 (9%) of adults surveyed do not own any of the devices asked about, including 43% of adults age 75 and older.
Not surprisingly, younger adults are leading the way in increased mobility, preferring laptops to desktops and using their cell phones for a variety of functions, including internet, email, music, games, and video viewing.
Overall, only 5% of adults own an e-book reader, and 4% own an iPad or other tablet computer.
The Pew findings are based on a survey of 3,001 American adults (ages 18 and older) conducted between 9 August and 13 September 2010. The margin of error is +/- 3 percentage points. Interviews were conducted in English and Spanish, and the survey included 1,000 cell phone interviews.