The increasing prevalence of smartphones like the iPhone and Blackberry has been linked to a rise in road deaths.

That's according to road safety charity Brake, which has revealed that almost one in three drivers (28 percent) admits to texting at the wheel, while one in 11 surfs the web or uses social networking sites like Facebook.

Research from the University of North Texas has found that death from distracted driving is increasing, and that this can be linked to a hike in drivers using their smartphones on the move.

An Ofcom report recently claimed that the level of smartphone use in the UK is approaching addictive levels, with many owners unable to go even a few minutes without checking them.

A Brake spokesperson called for the government to act on what it says is an "upsurge in distracted driving".

Brake says that texting makes drivers 23 times more likely to crash. Research among young drivers found that they spent four times as long with their eyes off the road when texting, making them stray into other lanes and make haphazard lane changes.

It has also been found that the risk of crashing quadruples when a driver talks on a phone, regardless of whether it's a handheld unit of hands-free.

Brake is calling for a change in the law that will see any driver caught using a mobile phone while driving banned for at least 12 months.