The UK is the third most congested country in Europe and the fourth most congested in the developed world, according to a new report. 

The INRIX Global Traffic Scorecard, the largest ever study of congestion, analysed 1,064 cities across 38 countries and found UK drivers spend an average of 32 hours a year in traffic jams. 

London drivers fared worst in the UK, according to the report, which found that drivers in the capital spend an average of 73 hours in peak-time gridlock each year - placing it second behind Moscow in Europe and seventh in the developed world. 

This information follows recent provisional figures released by the Department for Transport (DfT), which revealed motor vehicle traffic reached a record high of 320.5 billion vehicle miles in the UK during 2016. Car traffic increased by 0.7 per cent, but the more substantial rise came in van and HGV traffic, up 3.4 and 2.8 per cent respectively. 

Despite these startling figures, the government has proposed to increase the small claims limit to £5,000 for road traffic accidents, restricting access to justice for many road users injured through no fault of their own. 

“With traffic levels at an all-time high, the need to improve road infrastructure has never been more important,” said Paul Brown, road accident specialist at Thompsons Solicitors. “It’s all well and good the government saying they are going to invest in our roads, but now we need action to try and reverse this current trend that looks to be heading towards a ‘gridlock Britain’, which in turn increases the risk of road users being involved in potentially serious accidents. 

“Even more frustrating is the fact that these road users are the ones that will suffer should the government push through its proposals to raise the small claims limit. The government will say there will be a reduction in insurance premiums for motorists, but all of the evidence shows this to be a con. It seems like an all-out attack on the honest road user.” 

According to the DfT, there were 182,560 road casualties in the year ending September 2016. A total of 25,160 were killed or seriously injured, up six per cent on the previous year. 

Paul added: “Improvements to public transport and incentives for cycling and walking will help reduce congestion, address public health concerns and, perhaps most critically, limit the number of people injured in road traffic accidents.