Bradford has double the number of people claiming for whiplash injury than the national average, it has been revealed, leading to one MP to call for the personal injury claims system to be regulated.

Bradford East MP David Ward said that in addition to the problem of criminal gangs staging crashes, many claims were being made by motorists frustrated about their high insurance premiums who wanted some of their cash back.

Mr Ward (Lib Dem) said the number of road accidents had reduced due to improved vehicle technology and safety measures such as traffic calming, but personal claims had increased with the average person claiming up to £3,000.

“I believe there is a need for legislation,” he said.

“We have to look at the speed of vehicles and use technology to say to people ‘if you were in that car doing that speed, you would not get whiplash’.”

Across the district about 18 residents per 1,000 made a claim between April 2011 and March this year. The national average is nine per 1,000 people.

Whiplash claims cost insurers £2 billion a year, with bogus payouts adding £90 to the typical car insurance premium.

The statistics, released by the Compensation Recovery Unit at the Department of Work and Pensions, showed that 542,922 claims were received from April 2011 to March 2012 with 10,111 coming from Bradford and 29,441 centred on Birmingham.

The fraudulent figures could even be higher because the CRU only has numbers for those claiming benefits as a result of being off sick with the injury where a compensation claim has been made.

Mr Ward, who has campaigned about rocketing insurance premiums across the district, said Justice Secretary Ken Clarke had met Prime Minister David Cameron to discuss the issue of whiplash personal injury claims amid growing concern about its impact on the motor insurance industry.

“They were looking at all parts of this crazy dysfunctional system,” he said.

“It is now so culturally embedded in people to react to high insurance premiums by trying to reclaim it through fraudulent claims.

“Many of these people are not normally bad people. It is their way of getting back something they think they should not have had in the first place.

“Then you have those organised criminals actually creating crash situations as well to put more pressure on.”

Mr Ward said he wanted to run a pilot with the medical profession in the BD3 postcode area to engage with GPs who write medical notes for whiplash claimants.

He said: “The GPs themselves cannot be happy about the increase in people coming through their doors claiming to have whiplash, they must feel uneasy.”

A spokesman for The Association of British Insurers said people claiming whiplash injuries should not be entitled to compensation unless there was objective evidence that they had suffered injury.

The spokesman said: “This is one of several radical reforms which the ABI has said needs to be considered to reduce the UK’s whiplash epidemic and bring down the costs of motor insurance.

“Britain’s thriving whiplash industry is now pushing up the cost of the average motor insurance policy by a staggering 20 per cent. Despite a fall in the number of car crashes, whiplash claims have risen by a third in the last three years.

“If whiplash was an Olympic sport, the UK would be gold medallists. The fact that whiplash is virtually impossible to disprove means that for too many it has become the fraud of choice, often aided and abetted by ambulance-chasing lawyers and claims management firms.”