Did the BlackBerry Outage Save Lives?

IT Management

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Last week BlackBerry users from across the globe experienced outages with their service. Some of the reported problems included: accessing the web, using BlackBerry messenger, roaming in Europe, and even accessing their email. It was later found out that a huge backlog was responsible for the intermittent service.

Sure, the BlackBerry outage inconvenienced tons of people, but could it have saved lives? That's what the police in the United Arab Emirates are claim. They're reporting that traffic accidents dropped by a staggering 40% in Abu Dhabi, and 20% in Dubai this past week. Their reasoning: driver's BlackBerry's weren't working so drivers couldn't text or check email forcing them to concentrate on driving.

Lt Gen Dahi Khalfan Tamim, the chief of Dubai Police, and Brig Gen Hussein Al Harethi, the director of the Abu Dhabi Police traffic department, both told The National newspaper:

"Absolutely nothing has happened in the past week in terms of killings on the road and we're really glad about that … People are slowly starting to realise the dangers of using their phone while driving. The roads became much safer when BlackBerry stopped working."

It's likely that the BlackBerry outage did cause some drivers to concentrate solely on driving, but their might be another explanation to those stats, as Naked Security points out.

In late September a talented UAE soccer player by the name of Theyab Awana, died in a car accident when he crashed into a stationary lorry on the Eastern Road near Sheikh Zayed Bridge. Awana's own father, Awana Ahmad Al Mosabi, said that his son was sending messages on his BlackBerry the time of the accident. Mosabi issued a statement asking drivers to be careful and not use electronic devices while driving:

"There were no skid marks on the road, and Theyab's friend who was driving behind him said he didn't see Theyab brake before crashing into the lorry," Mr Al Mosabi said. "We are not certain that he was using his BlackBerry, but that's what everything indicates. Too many people are texting while driving, so I ask all drivers not to use their mobile phones or other electronics while driving."

It goes without saying that texting, emailing, or doing anything with your phone while driving is incredibly dangerous… so don't do it. What happened to common sense?

What are your thoughts? Do you think the BlackBerry outage played a part in the reduction of traffic accidents? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.