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UAE Police Claim BlackBerry Outage Made Roads Safer 206

An anonymous reader writes "Road traffic accidents in Abu Dhabi and Dubai plummeted last week — and the local police have a theory as to why: drivers' BlackBerrys weren't working. Police in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have claimed that last week's worldwide BlackBerry outage, which frustrated business people around the world who were unable to communicate with their colleagues, had one positive result — less texting and reading of emails by people who should have been concentrating on driving instead. There could be other factors at play, however. For instance, popular UAE soccer player Theyab Awana was killed in a high speed crash near Abu Dhabi in September, amid claims that he was sending a message on his BlackBerry when he hit a lorry. The football star's father, Awana Ahmad Al Mosabi, made an emotional plea to people not to use smartphones while driving, and a Facebook campaign against the use of BlackBerry Messenger while driving has grown in popularity."
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UAE Police Claim BlackBerry Outage Made Roads Safer

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 17, 2011 @10:07PM (#37746212)

    Yes, blame BlackBerries and their incredibly difficult to type on keyboards.

    In all seriousness, though, why isn't it a campaign against texting while driving?

  • Banninate it. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by FyberOptic ( 813904 ) on Monday October 17, 2011 @10:19PM (#37746276)

    Most people accept that texting and cellphones cause accidents. But, most people also think they're better drivers than everyone else, and therefore it's okay for them to do it. Even cops do it. I see them all the time.

    The only solution is making it illegal internationally. But considering the U.S. alone only bans it in a handful of states, we have a long way to go of convincing people that their ego doesn't make it okay.

  • by hedwards ( 940851 ) on Monday October 17, 2011 @10:36PM (#37746372)

    It's still dangerous even if you are in rural Nebraska, even if it isn't as dangerous as it is in the cities and there's ultimately no reason why one should be talking on the phone without at least a headset.

  • Re:Banninate it. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by dark_requiem ( 806308 ) on Monday October 17, 2011 @10:41PM (#37746394)
    As a quick aside, cops in general seem to be pretty shitty drivers. Had a couple incidents where cops who were simply talking to their partners nearly swerved in to me.

    But, more to the point, it's a slippery slope issue. Eating in your car is also distracting. Do you solve it by banning drive-throughs? Reading in your car is a distraction. Do cops issue tickets if they see an atlas or a copy of the local newspaper on the seat when they pull you over? How about if you jotted down directions to where you're going, and a cop sees you check the paper to see if your exit is coming up? How about unruly kids in the back seat? Quite distracting, but you don't hear calls for kids to be anesthetized before getting in a car (although...).

    Point is, if the government takes it upon themselves to enact a new rule, regulation, or prohibition for every danger in the world, then there's nothing you can do freely. There are laws against swerving dangerously from lane to lane in traffic. There are laws against running people over, or slamming blindly headlong into a telephone poll. Some people can multitask to the point where they can talk on the phone and drive. Some people need a hands-free device to achieve the same result. Some people (and I'm in this category) would rather stammer through a conversation and lose their train of thought because their primary focus is on driving, not talking. Some people just can't pull it off at all. You, like most statists, are proposing a one-size-fits-all solution to a problem that doesn't have one. At its core, what you suggest is no different than solving alcoholism or other forms of drug abuse through prohibition.
  • Re:Banninate it. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by rolfwind ( 528248 ) on Tuesday October 18, 2011 @12:03AM (#37746756)

    To add to the last post:

    Some people can multitask to the point where they can talk on the phone and drive. Some people need a hands-free device to achieve the same result.

    A lot less than many people think. Most overestimate their abilities: []

    Which is a very American trait, I noticed: []

    Kind of like how those people who "work" 12 hours a day, brag about it, and lag behind people who work an honest 8 hours a day in productive because they spend most of the time at the watercooler or on the internet. Seriously, when you're driving, please drive - stop overestimating your abilities when they really get reduced by not paying attention. If you don't want to do that, either carpool with someone who doesn't have that problem and is willing to drive, or use mass transit.

    But stfu because you can't stop diddling with your smartphone for 30 seconds and want to bullshit the rest of us that you're just as good with it as without it.

  • by jbov ( 2202938 ) on Tuesday October 18, 2011 @12:27AM (#37746894)
    My family and I were traveling on I-95 in the US and saw a woman playing a violin while driving. No joke. Presumably, she was steering with her knees. In disbelief, I wanted to get a better look, but I wouldn't risk being in the lane adjacent to her. I think we need a campaign to ban playing musical instruments while driving.
  • by squizzar ( 1031726 ) on Tuesday October 18, 2011 @05:37AM (#37747904)

    Because as someone who also uses the roads I'd prefer not to be selected out of the gene pool by some cunt who has some desperate need to send texts and make calls whilst in the middle of dense, fast moving rush hour traffic. Not all rules are there to protect you from yourself...

  • by zippthorne ( 748122 ) on Tuesday October 18, 2011 @07:44AM (#37748398) Journal

    Banned, but not enforced. The main goal was revenue, not safety.

    The purpose of traffic laws in the developed world is essentially as an extra tax. Therefore no road laws will ever be sufficiently enforced to significantly discourage the activity they purport to prohibit.

"When anyone says `theoretically,' they really mean `not really.'" -- David Parnas