Did the Three Day BlackBerry Outage Last Week Save Lives?

The unfortunate three-day BlackBerry message service outage in Africa, Europe and the Middle East last week had the interesting unintended side effect of demonstrating the contribution of texting/emailing-while-driving to automobile accidents and deaths. The National reported that Dubai officials reported data which indicates that:

BlackBerry cuts made roads safer, police say

A clear message on driving safety

- Car accidents in Dubai were down by 20% during the three day BlackBerry messaging outage. On the average there is a car accident every three minutes in Dubai. So, a 20% drop is significant.

- Car accidents in Abu Dhabi were down 40% during the outage period.

- No fatalities due to car accidents in Abu Dhabi were reported during the three day outage. On the average, there is a fatality every other day there due to car accidents.

What remains to be seen is if car accident and fatality rates rise back to or near those reported prior to the outage at some point in the near future.

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