- Win $100 in prizes!
Telecommuting -- A Safe Ride
A commentary on the hazards
of traditional commuting...
by Rick Johnson
In America the highway
lures people with a sense of motion, captivating curves, and
a never-ending parade of colorful cars. It's almost like a circus,
complete with rides, thrills, sounds and spills. It's the biggest
show in town, and it's one of the deadliest, too.
Last year nearly
40,000 American men, women, and children died after visiting
this circus. Hundreds of thousands more were injured -- many
disabled so they could no longer work, go to school, or enjoy
their lives as before. Billions of dollars worth of property
were lost. Billions more were spent on funerals, hospitalization,
therapy, and long-term care.
And yet, the
circus is still in business. It's big business, too. Maybe even
bigger, today, than it was back in the early 60's, when consumer
advocate Ralph Nader wrote in his book "Unsafe At Any Speed":
gigantic costs of the highway carnage in this country support
a service industry. A vast array of services -- medical, police, administrative, legal, insurance,
automotive repair, and funeral --
stand equipped to handle the direct and indirect consequences
of accident injuries. Traffic accidents create economic demands
for these services running into billions of dollars."
later hundreds of thousands of people are still being hurt on
our highways. This in spite of the fact that billions are being
spent to make our cars more "crash worthy" and our
highways wider and "safer." Does it matter that millions
of good people and families have been destroyed or disabled during
the 20th Century? Does anyone care?
many people care. Many people are devoting their lives to making
highways and vehicles safer. Other people are also beginning
to look at new perspectives about transportation to end the killing
and maiming that legions of "crash test dummies" can't
seem to stop. One perspective that offers new hope is "conservation
of commuting." Conservation of commuting includes activities
such as ride consolidation, ride sharing, and a relatively new
activity -- telecommuting.
telecommuting was promoted and accepted because it saves energy,
reduces pollution, increases productivity, and saves time and
money. Now, throughout America and around the world, more and
more people are beginning to recognize that telecommuting has
very important safety and health benefits, as well. Listen to
Michaela, who writes:
to see your efforts! I used to commute 30 mins to/from my Multimedia
job on a very congested freeway, with a dangerous switch of four
lanes within 1/4 mile in order to get to my exit. I now telecommute
from home exclusively and love it. I believe I would have eventually
been involved in a serious car accident had I continued commuting,
as I witnessed such accidents on a daily basis.
I now save time,
money, the environment and my health by telecommuting. I'm fortunate
to have such a flexible employer and I hope others will follow
There are millions
of people who face unsafe highway commutes every day. Many of
those people could telecommute and improve their safety, as Michaela
has done. Michaela and her employer should be highly commended
for helping to make highways safer by not using them unnecessarily.
much of the death and destruction that's taking place on American
highways and throughout the world will end. More people will
be allowed to telecommute, and more people will be allowed to
- Rick Johnson
is founder of the Telecommuting
Safety & Health Benefits Institute.