As BlackBerry offers free apps, outage reportedly made roads dramatically safer

As news breaks that Blackberry plans to offer users free apps to make up for last week’s outage, but no compenstation, there was a reported dramatic fall in the number of traffic accidents in the United Arab Emirates that has been directly linked to the three-day disruption in BlackBerry services.

In Abu Dhabi, the number of accidents this week fell a whopping 40% and there were no fatal accidents while in Dubai traffic accidents fell by 20% from average on the days when BlackBerry was down.

Who knkew the Middle East was such a dangerous place to get behind the wheel?

The National reports that on average there is a traffic accident every three minutes in Dubai and in Abu Dhabi there is a fatal accident every two days. Take away their Blackberry’s and people actual start living longer.

“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.

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, the National reports.

The drop follows the tragic death two weeks ago of UAE international footballer Theyab Amana, the winger who played for Emirati Pro-League club Baniyas, who crashed his car into the rear of a road-painting lorry in Abu Dhabi apparently while using his BlackBerry.

Free apps offer

Research in Motion has said it plans to offer BlackBerry users free apps worth at least $100 US dollars (£63).

A selection of premium apps will be offered to subscribers as “an expression of appreciation for their patience” during the disruptions.

They will be made available on the BlackBerry App World from Wednesday until December 31.

The free apps on offer include SIMS 3, Bejeweled, Bubble Bash 2 and Shazam Encore.

Mike Lazaridis, co-chief executive of RIM, said: “Our global network supports the communications needs of more than 70 million customers. We truly appreciate and value our relationship with our customers. We’ve worked hard to earn their trust over the past 12 years, and we’re committed to providing the high standard of reliability they expect, today and in the future.

“We are grateful to our loyal BlackBerry customers for their patience. We have apologised to our customers and we will work tirelessly to restore their confidence. We are taking immediate and aggressive steps to help prevent something like this from happening again.”

Is a $100 of free apps enough though? Probably not when when people are queuing around the block buying iPhone 4s phones.

Free apps seems quite a lame offer, but without handing over millons of dollars what else can it do? Blackberry is going to lose a lot of customers free apps or no free apps.