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New study finds cell users oblivious

Although a vast majority of phone-toting restaurant patrons try to spare fellow diners the annoyance of a mid-meal ring, 28% are no more discreet than they would be in a car, according to a new survey.

The canvass of cell users revealed that 18% turn off their phones while dining in a restaurant, and 54% try to be courteous either by using the Vibrate setting (34%), lowering ring volume (11%), or putting the unit into silent mode, so the push buttons make no noise (9%). But more than one out of four indicated that they don't change any settings when they leave the street or their cars to enter a public eating place.

The finding is consistent with the survey's overall indication that cell-phone users are less courteous today than they were in years past, but do not view themselves as being impolite. "Many are not yet accustomed to the new responsibilities," Jacqueline Whitmore, founder and director of the etiquette-focused Protocol School of Palm Beach, said in assessing the data.

The research and Whitmore's analysis were commissioned by Sprint, a wireless service provider.

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