A survey, conducted by the University of Illinois, has found that there is no risk to flights from people using their cell phones or other electronic devices. Up to 40 percent of people admitted that they did not turn their devices off as instructed during take-off and landing.
Complaints from pilots that the devices were interfering with their navigation equipment meant that in 1991 the Federal Aviation Administration brought legislation in banning the use of the devices during take-off and landing. However, Daniel Simons, a psychology professor from the University of Illinois in conjunction with Christopher Chabris from Union College, found that 40 percent of people admitted to leaving their devices on while seven percent left their phones fully active, not switching off Wi-Fi or the cellular signal. Two percent admitted to using their phones when it was forbidden.
They said of their survey: “Our survey strongly suggests that there are multiple gadget violators on almost every flight. If personal electronics are really as dangerous as the FFA rules suggest navigation and communication would be disrupted every day on domestic flights but we don’t see that.”
The researchers calculate that the chances of every one of the passengers on a domestic flight, which is normally around 75 people, have turned their cell phones and electronic devices off fully is around one in 100 quadrillion.