View Poll Results: When in the NY METRO AREA, how often are you bothered by rude cell phone users?

18. You may not vote on this poll
  • Constantly

    7 38.89%
  • A few times a day

    4 22.22%
  • About once a day

    0 0%
  • Several times a week

    2 11.11%
  • Several times a month

    0 0%
  • About once a month

    0 0%
  • Once every few months

    1 5.56%
  • Very rarely

    4 22.22%
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Thread: Cell Phone Users Top Rudeness List in America

  1. #1

    Default Cell Phone Users Top Rudeness List in America

    Introduction: I wanted to start a topic on the rudeness level of cell phone users in the New York Metro Area. There was not one major New York news publication, however, that had a comprehensive article on the subject. Thus, I am introducing an ABC News U.S.-wide poll, and I am conducting my own poll of New York.

    Poll: Rudeness in America, 2006

    It's the #@%! Cell Phones

    By Gary Langer
    ABC News 20/20

    Feb. 3, 2006 In the ranks of rudeness, cell phones reign.

    While vast majorities of Americans experience a range of rude behaviors at least occasionally in their daily lives, the one transgression that occurs most often is accompanied by a ring tone: People talking on cell phones, in public places, in a loud or annoying manner.

    Eighty-seven percent of Americans in an ABC News "20/20" survey say they encounter that kind of gabbing at least sometimes, and a majority — 57 percent — hear it often. That takes the cake for frequency; by contrast, just under four in 10 often experience generally rude or disrespectful behavior, cursing, near-cursing or people interrupting conversations to use e-mail or cell phones.
    Those other behaviors still occur aplenty: Tote up people who experience these "sometimes" as well as "often" and you get at least three-quarters in each case.

    How bothersome these behaviors are is another matter. Rude or disrespectful behavior is the most objectionable — among people who see it, nearly six in 10 say it bothers them "a lot." But many people have become inured to cell-phone offenses: Forty-five percent say rude use of cell phones bothers them a lot. About as many are very bothered by swear words, while least objectionable is the use of ersatz curses, such as "freaking" or "b.s." Twenty-five percent of Americans say that bothers them a lot.

    Again, broader bother — not just "a lot," but also including people who are somewhat bothered — runs much higher, ranging from 83 percent for general rudeness to 50 percent for substitute swearing.

    Note to Men: Watch Your Mouths

    Sensitivity to the lack of courtesy varies among groups, with women and older Americans most likely to be bothered by bad behavior. The biggest difference between the sexes is on the appropriateness of public cursing: Fifty-eight percent of women say it bothers them a lot, compared with 38 percent of men — a big 20-point gap.

    Women also are 16 points more likely than men to be very bothered by people who are rude or disrespectful in general, and nine to 13 points more apt to be bothered by other behaviors.

    There are also differences by age. Seniors — the least likely to use cell phones regularly — are the most annoyed by loud cellular calls: Nearly six in 10 are bothered by it a lot, compared with 35 percent of those under age 35. Similarly, seniors are the most likely to be very bothered by people using cells or e-mail mid-conversation, cursing or the use of substitute curses.

    OK, Many of Us Slip Up

    Bad manners, to some extent, may be a thing of youth. Overall, in terms of their own behavior, 41 percent of Americans admit to sometimes being so busy and pressed for time that they're not as polite as they'd like to be. Among those under age 35 it's 48 percent; that drops to 38 percent among their elders.

    Despite their different sensibilities, men and women are about equally likely to say they're sometimes less polite than they'd like. And contrary to what you might expect, Americans who live in urban areas are no more likely than those in outside metropolitan centers to say they're sometimes too busy to act politely.

    Just under two in 10 Americans say they curse regularly, but add in those who do swear, but "not so often," and it rises to 36 percent. Again, it spikes among young adults: Nearly three in 10 of those under 35 swear in public very or somewhat often, nearly triple the number of seniors who do so.

    Will Your Cell Phone Make You Rude?

    There's no clear, consistent link between the use of communication devices and rudeness. People who never use cell phones are less apt than users to say they're sometimes too busy to be as polite as they'd like; but impoliteness does not increase as frequency of cell phone use rises.

    Also, cell phone users are no more likely than non-users to say they curse regularly. And people who use e-mail, iPods or MP3s, and/or text messaging are no more likely than those who don't use such tools to say they're sometimes too busy to be polite, or to say they use swear words.

    All told, about half of Americans regularly use cell phones, as many regularly use e-mail and nearly three in 10 regularly use iPods or other personal music devices. Fewer, one in six, use text or instant messaging on a regular basis.

    Age is a big factor: Cell phone usage is highest among those under 45, use of iPods and text messaging is significantly higher among those under 35 and e-mail usage drops precipitously among seniors.

    Neither observed rudeness nor the bother it causes has changed much in the past four years, despite a continued spike in the number of Americans toting cells phones and other mobile communication gadgetry.

    There are some slight shifts. Fifty-seven percent now report often witnessing others making loud or annoying cell phone calls in public areas; that's up eight points from a Public Agenda/Pew poll in 2002. The percentage bothered "a lot" by these calls inched up by a modest five points.

    On the other hand, reports of rude language in public are down slightly, by five points, from 2002 — and the number of people who are very bothered by that kind of language is down by eight points.

    METHODOLOGY — This ABC News poll was conducted by telephone Jan. 20-24, 2006, among a random national sample of 1,014 adults. The results have a three-point error margin. Sampling, data collection and tabulation by ICR-International Communications Research of Media, Pa.

    Click here for PDF version with full questionnaire and results.

    Note: The tables with the poll results could not be copied onto this topic. To see these 2 tables, click article:

  2. #2


    Faking It

    Lloyd Garver Says Cell Phone Yackers May Be Ruder Than You Think

    CBS News
    April 20, 2005

    You know all those annoying people who talk into their cell phones as if you weren't standing right next to them? It turns out that many of them aren't really talking to anybody. The New York Times recently described research at Rutgers University as well as the Ethics and Public Policy Center that found that a great number of cell phone users are faking it.

    A number of people make fake phone calls on their cell phones just for the benefit of those around them. Someone who's late for work may enter the office talking to "an important client" to cover her tardiness. Others pretend they get a call when they don't want to talk to someone who's standing right in front of them. Not surprisingly, some of those big deals you hear people negotiate on the phone are just done to impress those within earshot. Men will pretend to be on a call as they walk over to hit on a woman. Women will pretend to be on a call to avoid getting hit on by men.

    Maybe this sounds like a creative use of technology to you, but I think it stinks. It was bad enough when I thought people were being rude, talking loudly about their personal lives to someone while looking right at me. Now I find out that they're being rude and not even talking to anybody!

    Many of the cell phone tricksters say they pretend to be on a call just to be noticed. Until now, whenever I've seen crazy drivers on the phone swerve all over the road or come to an inexplicable stop, I've always felt they were just making a call that could probably wait until the drive was over. I'd pull up next to them and give them the traditional shake of the head and dirty look. Now, it turns out that my look may be exactly what the "caller" was hoping for. They're not putting our lives in danger because they're ordering a pizza delivered to their house. They're doing it because they want us to notice their new blouse or tie.

    We're all probably pretty understanding when someone we're sharing an elevator with is talking baby talk into his cell phone, ending with, "Daddy will be home soon." But now that we know that "Daddy" might not even have a kid, and might be talking to the weather forecast, we may not be so forgiving next time

    And that's a problem, because next time, "Daddy" might be real, and I don't want to tell some guy to get off the phone because he's faking it only to learn that he's really talking to his sick kid. So, these fakers have the potential to make the rest of us the bad guys.

    The only way to deal with this is to fight faking with faking. When you're waiting to get off a plane and the guy next to you makes that "We're just pulling into the gate, and I'll call you from the baggage" call, you can top it with "This is the last time I fly commercial. I'll meet you at the helicopter."

    When that obnoxious businessman shouts into his phone, declaring he's about to make a fortune because he was clever enough to buy Amalgamated Apple Sauce at 12, you can always talk into yours and say, "What's that? Amalgamated Apple Sauce is down to 3½? Well, at least I sold in time."

    And maybe we'll be tempted to resort to the ultimate defensive tactic. When we're surrounded by callers talking away on their electronic pals, we can always take out our cellular and say, "I understand, Mr. President. All personal, civilian cellular calls should be terminated ASAP. I will notify the people around me immediately, sir."

    Maybe that will at least give us a few minutes of silence — until one of those phone fakers "needs to be noticed."

    By Lloyd Garver
    ©MMV CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved.

  3. #3
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    NYC - Downtown


    My top 3 "bugs the heck out of me":

    1) Texting during a movie -- the light from your little screen a couple of rows ahead of me as is annoying & distracting as if you were talking during the movie. Enjoy the film & put the dang cell away.

    2) Stopping on the stairs leading into a subway station to get in that last call before you lose service, thereby blocking the stairs for everyone else.

    3) Slowly ambling down the middle of the sidewalk while checking messages / texting -- move it to the curb or a doorway, please!

  4. #4
    King Omega XVI OmegaNYC's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Clifton, NJ


    Quote Originally Posted by lofter1

    2) Stopping on the stairs leading into a subway station to get in that last call before you lose service, thereby blocking the stairs for everyone else.


    Like that old saying: "Great minds think alike."

  5. #5


    Why -- considering the high percentage of people who are bothered by rude cell phone users -- have none of the major NY metro newspapers recently published an article or op-ed piece on the subject?

    Does a serious, high publicity incident or crime have to occur before the subject is seriously addressed by the mass media?


    A survey on the attitudes of cell phone users was conducted by PEW/INTERNET, Associated Press, and AOL, and published

    The following is an opinion piece, a bit inflammatory, but the only one I could find, on the survey:

    Cell phone users confess: We're a bunch of dangerous, rude liars

    But wireless customers wouldn't do without their handhelds, survey finds.

    By Bob Brown,, 04/03/06

    Cell phone users acknowledge that the devices encourage them to drive dangerously and behave rudely, but they also say the devices are increasingly hard for them to do without.

    Four of 10 respondents said cell phones have shifted the way they spend their time, such as by making calls to kill time while waiting. Four out of five say their cell phones are always on. And three-quarters of those surveyed say they have used cell phones in emergency situations and received help.

    All of which makes it hard for people not to use their phones while driving or in public places where discretion might be warranted. More than a quarter of cell phone owners admit driving unsafely while using their phones and one in 10 confess that they have been the subject of criticism or icy stares for using a cell phone where others thought they shouldn't be doing so. One in five cell phone owners confess that they don't always tell the truth about where they are when on their phone.

    Cell phones could be even more useful, users say. Nearly half said they'd like to access maps via their cell phones and more than a third would like to get instant messages from friends.

  6. #6


    What about people using their Blackberries?
    There was this woman sitting by the train's door in the LIRR which bugged the hell out of me because the train was packed and she was in everybody's way yet she never budged!

  7. #7
    Chief Antagonist Ninjahedge's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2003


    That's when you firmly say "Excuse me" as you brush her on the way in/out of the train.

    People have ways of doing things like that even w/o blackberries. This is not surprising...

  8. #8


    I hate the folks that insist on standing in the doorways, cell phone/black berry or not. Or even Mr. I'mAGonnaSpreadMyNewspaperOutHereBecauseI'mALikeIm portantAndStuff. Not his real name. Anyhow, getting to the door a stop or so from your stop isn't a big deal. But just camping in the door all the way across town, making everyone's life miserable who is trying to get on and get off the train is just plain bogus. I try to be courteous, but small jackasses get the elbow and large ones get the shoulder to pass through. Sheesh.

    P.S. I see your cell phone talkers and raise you iPod singers. Good grief.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Bob's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Fairfax, VA


    The cell phone users who insist on doing 45 mph on the third lane of the LIE are those who REALLY bug me. If you want to do 45, get in the right lane. If you want to use your cell phone, do that in the right lane, too.

  10. #10


    Quote Originally Posted by daver View Post
    I see your cell phone talkers and raise you iPod singers. Good grief.
    Ooh yeah, when you have a loud iPod singer, that is baaaaaaad... especially an out-of-tune one. But there are much FEWER singing cases! (My choice of "case" was no accident.) People are far more reluctant to publicly croon than phone-yak!

    Also, the phenomenon of people singing with "headphones" on has been around for decades; most of us have developed our own special ways of dealing with it. We are still in... err... "adjustment mode" with the cell phone chatter.

  11. #11


    Quote Originally Posted by Bob View Post
    The cell phone users who insist on doing 45 mph on the third lane of the LIE are those who REALLY bug me. If you want to do 45, get in the right lane. If you want to use your cell phone, do that in the right lane, too.
    You must be talking about New Yorkers using the hands-free device while driving, no?

    Use of the hand-held device while driving is against the law in NY; drivers get moving violation tickets, points on their license, and license suspensions for "repeat offenses."

    I had never heard of anybody actually getting a ticket for this until rapper Busta Rhymes was pulled over last November 2:

    Busta Rhymes ticketed for driving while on his cell phone

    November 3, 2006

    Trouble has found Busta Rhymes again.

    The rapper, who's had other run-ins with the law, was caught talking on his cell phone while driving past a Manhattan police station, police said Friday.

    Rhymes, whose legal name is Trevor Smith, was cruising past the Midtown North police station on West 54th Street around 7 p.m. Thursday when police allegedly spotted him on the cell phone.

    He was pulled over and issued a summons for the moving violation. His management office declined comment Friday.


  12. #12


    I was on an interminable supermarket line, but it turned out to not be such a bad thing because the man in front of me was handsome and outgoing. The fellow in front of him joined our conversation and we were engaged in lively chatter, when the woman behind me screamed out, "Keep it down! Can't you see I'm on a cell phone?!"

  13. #13


    ^Never encountered anyone trying to pull something that rude. And cell phone-saturation here is pretty high (always had many phones in Sthlm, supposedly outnumberd NYC at one point - but can't find any real reference to back that up).

    I didn't find anything rude about cellphone useage in NYC the (whole amazing) 10 days I was there, at least not any more than here. And IMO it's not so much about them being cellphone users as much as the rude ones being just generally rude. Such as yelling at the phone, having that (senselessly default) key-note on...

    /still no law against driving while talking on the cell here. didn't they see the Mythbusters testing it???

  14. #14
    Senior Member Bob's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Fairfax, VA


    Regarding the NY ban on hand-held cell phones, I do know about that law. And I willingly and openly violate it. Same with the 55 MPH "speed limit." Civil disobedience, albeit on a small scale. If I get a ticket, I get a ticket. All the State really cares about is the revenue from fines, anyway. I will fight the bastards in court, each and every time. I have in the past, and I will in the future. I work for my money. The State will have to work for its money, too.

    This country has lost so many of its freedoms, one by one, that I long ago decided to live my life as a free man. So long as my freedoms do not interfere with those of others, I feel I'm on solid ground.

  15. #15


    Quote Originally Posted by Bob
    So long as my freedoms do not interfere with those of others, I feel I'm on solid ground.
    In the case of using a cell phone while you're driving, you do interfere with others' well being, or at least, studies say so:

    Driving + Cell Phones = Big Road Risk

    Study: Chatting on Cell Phones While Driving May Be as Bad as Driving Drunk

    By Miranda Hitti
    WebMD Medical News

    Reviewed By Louise Chang, MD
    on Thursday, June 29, 2006

    June 29, 2006 -- Driving under the influence of a cell phone may be major road hazard, according to a University of Utah study.

    "The impairments associated with using a cell phone while driving can be as profound as those associated with driving while drunk," write psychology professor David Strayer, PhD, and colleagues in the summer issue of the journal Human Factors.

    Strayer's team tested the driving skills -- on a simulator, not real roads -- of 25 men and 15 women under four conditions:
    • No distractions
    • Talking on a hand-held cell phone about a favorite subject
    • Talking on a hands-free cell phone headset about a favorite subject
    • Driving while drunk (blood-alcohol concentration of 0.08&#37 without talking on a cell phone
    Driving with a blood-alcohol concentration of 0.08% or higher is against the law in all U.S. states and Washington, D.C.

    Chatting Behind the Wheel

    The simulator resembled a Ford Crown Victoria sedan. Participants were to drive along a simulated stretch of highway without crashing into the car ahead of them, which braked at unpredictable times.

    The drivers were 22-34 years old (average age: 25). They had good eyesight, valid drivers' licenses, and an average of eight years of driving experience. More than three-quarters owned a cell phone; almost all of those drivers -- 87% -- said they have used a cell phone while driving.
    In the cell phone tests, participants chatted on a cell phone about a favorite topic. They spoke with a research assistant, and they didn't have to dial the phones or answer the phones while driving.

    Cell Phone Crashes

    While on either type of cell phone (hands-free or hand-held), drivers were more likely to rear-end the car ahead of them than when they were undistracted. They were also slower to brake and to accelerate after braking while on either type of cell phone.

    No differences were seen between the use of hands-free or hand-held cell phones while driving. The conversation itself -- not the device -- may be the biggest distraction, note Strayer and colleagues.

    "Clearly the safest course of action is not to use a cell phone while driving," the researchers write. They add that when they interviewed participants after the study, most hadn't realized that their driving was worse while on the cell phone.

    . . .

    SOURCES: Strayer, D. Human Factors, Summer 2006; vol 48: pp 381-391. Insurance Institute for Highway Safety: "DUI/DWI Laws." News release, University of Utah.

    Full text:

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