Saturday, November 19, 2011

Cell Phones Really Do Distract Us While Driving!

Do you remember that Blackberry outage in the Middle East about a month ago? Did you catch some of the secondary stories associated with it? I've been meaning to post this story for a while, so here it is.

You know how you see distracted drivers all the time, playing with their cell phones? Yes, it is true, texting and reading e-mail really does measurably affect traffic safety. From TheNational:
"BlackBerry cuts made roads safer, police say" by Awad Mustafa and Caline Malek
http://www.thenational.ae/news/uae-news/blackberry-cuts-made-roads-safer-police-say

"A dramatic fall in traffic accidents this week has been directly linked to the three-day disruption in BlackBerry services."

"In Dubai, traffic accidents fell 20 per cent from average rates on the days BlackBerry users were unable to use its messaging service. In Abu Dhabi, the number of accidents this week fell 40 per cent and there were no fatal accidents."

"Lt Gen Dahi Khalfan Tamim, the chief of Dubai Police, and Brig Gen Hussein Al Harethi, the director of the Abu Dhabi Police traffic department, linked the drop in accidents to the disruption of BlackBerry services between Tuesday and Thursday."

"Email, Messenger and internet functions were unavailable to users in the Middle East, Africa and Europe after a crucial link in the BlackBerry network failed."

Note the groups most affected by the Blackberry outage:
"Gen Tamim said police found 'a significant drop in accidents by young drivers and men on those three days'. He said young people were the largest user group of the Messenger service."

"Brig Gen Al Harethi said: 'Accidents were reduced by 40 per cent and the fact that BlackBerry services were down definitely contributed to that.'"

"'The roads became much safer when BlackBerry stopped working.'"

We already knew this, but it's interesting to see it proven in a real world experiment!