Published in Mobiles

Traffic accidents reduced because of Blackberry outage

Silver linings

Coppers in the United Arab Emirates noticed a dramatic fall in traffic accidents last week when drivers' BlackBerrys weren't working.

Last week's worldwide BlackBerry outage might have frustrated everyone, but it did mean less texting and reading of emails by people who should have been concentrating on driving instead. Road traffic accidents in Abu Dhabi are said to have dropped by 40 per cent , and there was a 20 per cent reduction in Dubai in the past week.

According to The National newspaper, 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 linked the drop to the service disruption experienced by BlackBerry users.

More cynical members of the press think that it is more likely to have been the fact that at the end of last month, popular UAE footballer Theyab Awana was killed in a high speed crash near Abu Dhabi, and it was claimed that he was sending a message on his BlackBerry when he hit a lorry.

The football star's father, Awana Ahmad Al Mosabi, made an emotional plea to people not to use smartphones while driving, and a Facebook campaign against the use of BlackBerry Messenger while driving has grown in popularity.

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