WA drivers face health risks

WA AGAIN recorded the highest rate of vehicle ownership in Australia – 725 vehicles per 1,000 people for the year to October 1998 – compared with an Australia-wide figure of 508 vehicles per 1,000 people.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics figures also reveal Australia’s high rate of ownership compared to most other countries.

The USA had 488 cars per 1,000 population, NZ 472, Canada 441, France 437, Great Britain 361 and Japan 342.

Australia’s growing dependence on cars is also affecting our health.

Inactivity is increasing our risk of heart disease and reducing our life expectancy.

In Perth over two million car trips occur each day. The last ten years has seen a 9 per cent increase in one person per car trips while cycling has decreased 25 per cent and walking is down 12 per cent.

Transport surveys show half of all car trips are five kilometres or less and about one in eight are as short as one kilometre.

In order to combat the growing problem TravelSmart 2010: A 10 Year Plan was recently launched by Transport Minister Murray Criddle in order to encourage more walking, cycling and public transport use.

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