Australian cars are older than other developed nations, and it's costing us hundreds of lives each year

Photo: Cameron Spencer/Getty Images.

The Australian Automobile Association says more than 1,300 lives would be saved on Australian roads over the next 20 years if the nation reduced the age of its light vehicle fleet by just one year.

The AAA recently commissioned research that shows the age of the Australian car fleet has remained consistently high compared to other developed nations. The average age of passenger vehicles in Australia is 9.8 years. Light commercial vehicles average 10.4 years old.

“However, an overall reduction of just a single year in the age of the light vehicle fleet would yield a 5.4 per cent reduction in road crashes, deliver road trauma and emission reduction benefits worth $19.7 billion over 20 years and directly save the government $3.3 billion over the same period,” says the AAA.

The research was compiled with data commissioned from Economic Connections, Pekol Traffic and Transport and Monash University Accident Research Centre.

AAA CEO Michael Bradley said the report highlighted the benefits of removing Commonwealth tariffs and taxes, which were originally imposed to protect Australia’s now-closed car manufacturing industry. The combined impact of the taxes and tariffs will add almost $5 billion to the price of new cars in Australia over the next four years.

“Getting Australians into newer cars will deliver real safety and environmental benefits for the community,” Bradley said.

The report has formed the basis of the AAA 2017-18 Pre-Budget Submission, which argues for greater investment in road infrastructure to reduce road fatalities and injuries and a range of measures to reduce congestion.

The AAA has advocated for reduced costs for motorists and an increase in the uptake of technologies to minimise emissions.

“We have called on the government to remove the 5 per cent tariff on imported vehicles and the Luxury Car Tax, which would save consumers almost $5 billion over the forward estimates,” Mr Bradley said.

“We have urged the Government to introduce real-world vehicle emissions testing to provide accurate emissions and fuel consumption readings to empower Australians to make better informed choices.”

Bradley said the pre-budget submission also called upon the Commonwealth to increase investment in land transport infrastructure and guarantee that at least 50 per cent of net fuel excise revenue would be earmarked for infrastructure in future years.

“Australians need a transparent link between excise and infrastructure investment,” he said.

“The nation needs to make significant investment in road networks to reduce congestion and improve productivity for the future.”

This article originally appeared on Gizmodo Australia. Read the original here.

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