The Upside of That Blackberry Outage: Fewer Car Crashes

It turns out some people benefited greatly from BlackBerry's wide-scale service outage: Drivers in the Middle East.

In the wake of BlackBerry's large-scale service outage last week, Research in Motion Ltd., the company that makes the handheld devices, has promised angry users free apps to try and prevent massive defection to Apple's iPhone. But while the days-long interruption was bad for RIM's bottom line, it was great for a lot of people, specifically drivers in the Middle East: According to police in the United Arab Emirates, traffic accidents dropped drastically while BlackBerry service was out—especially among young people, who authorities say are most likely to use BlackBerry Messenger while behind the wheel.

Reckless driving has long been a concern in U.A.E., and for good reason. On a normal day in Dubai, there is a car accident every three minutes, while Abu Dhabi suffers a road fatality every two days. When BlackBerry service died, those numbers fell drastically. State-owned U.A.E. paper The National reports that accidents in Dubai dropped by 20 percent, while crashes in Abu Dhabi dropped by a full 40 percent. What's more, Abu Dhabi had not a single fatality.

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