BlackBerry outage reduced texting while driving
While many were frustrated in October due to the three-day outage in BlackBerry services, it appears that there is at least one positive thing to keep from this event.
Two police departments in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) noted a significant decrease in car crashes during the BlackBerry outage. In Dubai, car accidents fell 20% from the average rate of one traffic accident every three minutes. The same situation was observed in Abu Dhabi where accidents were reduced by 40% and no fatal car crashes occurred.
For Abu Dhabi Police traffic department Brig Gen Hussein Al Hareth, there is a direct connection between the BlackBerry service interruption and the improved traffic statistics.
“Absolutely nothing has happened in the past week in terms of killings on the road and we’re really glad about that,” he said. “People are slowly starting to realize the dangers of using their phone while driving. The roads became much safer when BlackBerry stopped working.”
The outage may not be the only explanation behind these numbers. On September 25, football star Theyab Awana died in a car accident and it was reported that he was using his BlackBerry phone at the time of the crash.
“That accident must have really made people think twice before using their BlackBerry while driving,” Brig Gen Al Harethi said.
Talking on the phone while driving in UAE can be punished by a Dh200 fine (approx. $55 USD). Careless driving is fined Dh1,000 (approx. $272 USD ), 12 points against a driver’s license, and up to a 30-day car confiscation from the police department.
Source: The National, October 15, 2011