A report from Abu Dhabi describes a large reduction in traffic injuries during a week when BlackBerry services were disrupted. The fall was 20% from the average for the same days in Dubai and 40% in Abu Dhabi. Not surprisingly, the fall was greatest among young men, the largest users of the device. The results of this ‘natural experiment’ provide further evidence – if any were needed – of the dangers of phone use while driving. The dangers of using mobile phones while driving were further reinforced by the earlier death of a popular footballer who crashed into the rear of a truck while using a BlackBerry.
Two weeks ago, Abu Dhabi Police announced a campaign against motorists who use their phones while at the wheel. They said they would be “usin
g electronic evidence” to show who sent what when. Thus if “an accident occurs while someone was messaging we will
prove it and present the electronic evidence to the Public Prosecutor… and charge the driver with the costs of retrieving that evidence”.
Comment: This seems a clever approach and should be explored further in other countries