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Published on Mon, Oct 17, 2011

By: The LACar Editorial Staff


Did Blackberry blackout save lives?

A report in the National newspaper of Abu Dhabi says traffic accidents fell by 20 per cent in Dubai during the recent Blackberry outage and by 40 per cent in Abu Dhabi. The paper asserts that the drop in traffic accidents was “directly linked to the three-day disruption in BlackBerry services.” “Absolutely nothing has happened in the past week in terms of killings on the road and we’re really glad about that,” Brig Gen Al Harethi, director of the Abu Dhabi police traffic department, told the paper. “People are slowly starting to realise the dangers of using their phone while driving. The roads became much safer when BlackBerry stopped working.” Maha Khoubieh, a Syrian resident in Abu Dhabi, told David Keohane of The Financial Times that she “found it really hard not to” look at her BlackBerry while driving but that the drop in accidents and fatalities had shocked her. “They could remain so if BlackBerry users are shocked into a change of behavior,” says Keohane . “It’s quite scary to see how much a phone can affect our lives,” said Khoubieh. “I definitely think that from now on, my BlackBerry will stick to the inside pocket of my handbag and we should all be able to do our part to improve the safety of our roads.” Gen Tamim, Dubai’s police chief, informed the National that police would soon be using electronic evidence against drivers involved in accidents while using their smart devices. “We have the capability to know who sent what when, and if an accident occurs while someone was messaging we will prove it and present the electronic evidence to the Public Prosecutor, and charge the driver with the costs of retrieving that evidence,” The dramatic drop in accidents has not been reported elsewhere.

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