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 |  Oct 19 2011, 6:45 PM

Sometimes a negative can really be a positive. Take the Blackberry outage that had users scrambling for a way to communicate earlier this week. It turns out that traffic accidents and fatalities fell drastically during that time period.

The three-day Blackberry service interruption and its effect on driving were especially evident in the Middle East. The National, a local English-language newspaper, reported that in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, accidents fell by 20 to 40 per cent.

“The roads became much safer when Blackberry stopped working,” said Brig. Gen. Hussein Al Harethi, director of the Abu Dhabi police traffic department.

In Dubai and Abu Dhabi, police said they noticed a significant decline in traffic accidents. The drivers most likely to be involved in distracted driving accidents are young men, and traffic accidents fell 20 per cent in Dubai and 40 per cent in Abu Dhabi. Even better news – there were no traffic fatalities during this time. Both countries have recently launched crackdowns on cell phone usage while driving, so this unplanned experiment couldn’t have happened at a better time.

It may take a few weeks to find out what the service interruption’s impact was on driving habits and accidents in other countries around the world.

[Source: Toronto Star]