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Motorists driven to despair
Slow going: Perth motorists are driven to despair. Picture: Bill Hatto/ The West Australian

Perth drivers spend an average three hours a week in traffic jams and it is beginning to affect their family life, stress levels and productivity.

A survey of nearly 700 RAC members found nearly half got up earlier to avoid morning congestion and one in three arrived home later from work.

An overwhelming seven out of eight said congestion and road delays were worse than a year ago.

The survey results echo this month's Westpoll that identified Perth's transport woes as the biggest issue for voters for the State election on March 9.

RAC head of advocacy Matt Brown said the growing congestion was forcing Perth motorists to change their daily routines.

They were now planning their lives around traffic and congestion.

"In the lead-up to the election, we're calling on our members and members of the public to let their local candidates know they've had enough and something needs to be done to reduce congestion on our roads," Mr Brown said.

Nearly half of the survey respondents blamed congestion for spending less time with their families and 59 per cent said they had less time to do something they enjoyed.

Sixty-eight per cent said congestion had caused increased stress, 61 per cent said it had made them late for work or to miss an appointment and 21 per cent said it reduced their productivity at work.

"The congested traffic makes you exhausted and, when you're back home, you cannot have a good time with your family and your children because you are tired," one said.

"Congestion diminishes lifestyle and causes anger and depression," another said.

A WA Chamber of Commerce and Industry survey last year of members and RAC customers found two in five local companies turned down work because of congestion.

Estimates on the cost of congestion to individual businesses ranged from $200 to more than $1 million, averaging about $20,000.

Businesses reported increased stress and fatigue, a decline in punctuality, more counselling, poorer behaviour and more errors.