I’m sure that many of you were aware that for a 3-day period last week Blackberry user system, supplied by RIM, had an outage. It was in fact the worst outage that RIM have had, and the 70million affected users seemed enough for RIM to release an official apology.
However, it appears that every cloud has a silver lining. During the 3 day outage there was a 40% decrease in traffic accidents in the United Arab Emirates. As a fairly keen driver, I can say that it is frightfully often that I see a fellow driver glance downwards as they frantically type a message. This may only take 3 or 4 seconds, but that is more than enough time for somebody to pull into a gap too small for his car, or for the traffic to slow to a halt. Those 3 or 4 seconds spent typing are not being used on the road, which is only ever going to lead to an accident. It is in fact this very situation that makes the UAE and Dubai (which had 20% less accidents during the outage) 2 of the most dangerous places in the world. They number of fatalities in the 2 places are roughly 5-10 times the worldwide average.
RIM have already released 2 apps to make it safer to use your Blackberry when driving, called DriveSafe.ly and Vlingo. They are currently priced at $20 each, but there are rumours in the pipeline that they might soon be made free to all Blackberry users.