Monday, October 17, 2011

Don't Text While Driving (now with data)

How can we measure the impact of texting while driving on safety? Turn off the texting service! Blackberry's 3-day disruption this week wreaked havoc on the incomes of ambulance-chasers and auto-body shops in the United Arab Emirates. Reports the National:
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.

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.
Any Emirati readers know how large a market share Blackberry has? If this was the gain from a single service going down, it's not hard to imagine that phone calls and texts of all varieties account for half of the accidents in a hyper-connected place like the Emirates.

Hat tips to Andrew Davis & Tyler Cowen.

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