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October 19, 2021

BlackBerry outage causes dip in car crashes: police

Since Research In Motion accidentally flicked off its BlackBerry switch last week, the Waterloo-based company has done much to win back the affection of its smartphone users.

Stock-photo-15205572-text-messaging-while-driving-xxxlJust look, there was Mike Lazaridis in a hastily-produced video last Thursday, doing everything short of holding a copy of that day’s newspaper in deadpanning RIM’s call to action. And then there was the big reveal: after many BlackBerry users had argued for cash compensation for their suffering during the outage, RIM tried to calm the storm by offering a $100 credit for certain BlackBerry applications, an offer the Consumerist calls “some free apps you might not want.”

But here’s the one good thing to come from the BlackBerry outage, and it didn’t have much to do with RIM, after all.

By traffic figures just released, BlackBerry’s loss of service may have resulted in fewer car crashes by distracted drivers.

According to police in smartphone-mad Abu Dhabi, accidents fell 40 per cent in the days BlackBerry’s messaging service was unavailable. In Dubai, accidents fell 20 per cent during that same period.

*Bing: Could texting and driving really be worse than drinking and driving?

Of course, it may be a little irresponsible to link the dip in crashes to a drop in BlackBerry use – often, police may not be able to definitively tell if texting or similar smartphone behaviour is to blame for an accident – but that’s just what Abu Dhabi’s head traffic cop has done, directly tying the two.

On this side of the Atlantic, we haven’t heard much traffic news regarding the BlackBerry outage, but who knows if that’ll last?

According to NYPD data, for instance, distracted drivers were the leading cause of city traffic crashes in August, the last month numbers are available for.

Of the near-17,000 crashes in the Big Apple in August, almost 2,000 were chalked up to “driver inattention/distraction,” a behaviour that includes motorists using their phones or other electronic devices while driving.

By Jason Buckland, MSN Money



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Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...

Jason BucklandJason Buckland

The modern-day MC Hammer of money, Jason can often be seen spending cash that isn’t his with the efficiency of a Wilt Chamberlain first date. After cutting his teeth as a reporter for the Toronto Sun, he joined the MSN Money team with...