Blackberry Outage: Lives Saved, Accidents Down

Abu Dhabi saw accident rates plummet by 40% with no fatal accidents precisely at the time when Blackberry had its three-day outage in the country. Moreover, in Dubai the accident rate dropped by 20% during the same period (perhaps they have more iPhones and Nokia devices?).

As word spreads, expect even stricter laws to prevent texting while driving. But as studies have shown, such laws tend to increase traffic accidents because it causes drivers not to text less but to hide the phone while they text, meaning their eyes are even farther away from the road.

Will Apple’s new Siri on the iPhone 4S be the solution to the texting while driving problem? Perhaps. Speech technologies should certainly help keep drivers spending less time looking at their devices while still allowing them to be productive and communicate effectively.

One thing is for sure – if this news of accidents correlated to smartphone use goes mainstream, there will be more attention paid to speech technologies and companies like Apple will benefit. Interestingly, Microsoft has had good speech recognition technology in their phones for many years and their Tellme acquisition made their speech technology even better.

I am looking forward to seeing how the battle between Microsoft and Apple shapes up on the speech tech front. But sadly for Redmond, they have already lost the speech tech marketing war to Siri – even though they were first. Then again they were years ahead of Apple in producing phones and tablets and that didn’t seem to help them very much.

Outage or not, this woman is still going to kill someone

No, I still can’t hear you. Have you considered Verizon?

The photo can wait. I’ll still be cute when we get off the freeway.

Disclosure: I still own Apple shares – yes, even after the recent earnings miss

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