The tragic stories behind using a mobile phone at the wheel

Illegal phone use by drivers at the wheel has risen significantly in the UK over just two years.

Almost one-third (31%) of 1,700 motorists admitted using handheld mobile phones on the road - up 23% since 2014, an RAC study revealed.

A staggering 12% even described using their mobile whilst behind the wheel as a habit.

The figures mean use of handheld mobiles now represents "the biggest road safety concern among motorists today", according to the RAC.

Following the release of the figures, ITV News looks back at some of the tragic deaths caused by mobile-phone using drivers over the past two years.

  • Liberty Baker, 14

Liberty Baker was on the way to school when she was knocked down Credit: GMB

In June 2014, 14-year-old Liberty Baker was on her way to school in Witney when a car mounted a kerb and ploughed into her and three others.

A court heard the 19-year-old driver was probably checking a text messaged when he knocked down Liberty, who died days later.

In 2015, Robert Blackwell was jailed for four years for causing death by dangerous driving.

After the RAC study, Liberty's father Paul told GMB the figures were "devastating".

"Every day you see it on the roads, on the motorways. There is just no fear now of being caught", he said.

  • Laura Thomas, 20

Laura Thomas was killed and her fiancee seriously injured Credit: SWNS

Laura Thomas was knocked down when a lorry driver hit her broken-down car on the A5 in Shropshire.

Ian Glover admitted he had been browsing pornographic websites on his phone when he ploughed into the vehicle, which flew into Ms Thomas, on July 21, 2013.

Her fiancee, Lewis Pagett, was also seriously injured.

Glover, 44, was jailed for five years.

  • Sharon Garrett, 44

Danny Warby was jailed for killing off-duty officer Sharon Garre. Credit: PA/Cambridgeshire Police

Off-duty police officer Sharon Garrett, 44, was killed when a lorry driver who was texting collided with three vehicles.

Danny Warby, 28, was jailed for six years after the collision in Wyton, Cambridgeshire, in June 2014.

Warby had only been driving for two minutes when the collision occurred.

Mother-of-two Ms Garrett's death was described as "devastating" by her family.

  • Lee Martin, 48

Lee Martin was knocked down by a texting van driver Credit: Hampshire Police

A van driver with eight previous convictions for using his mobile phone at the wheel knocked down and killed cyclist Lee Martin seconds after reading a text message.

Christopher Gard, 30, was jailed for nine years after he ploughed into the father-of-two, 48, who had been competing in a ten-mile time trial event.

The crash happened on August 12, 2015, in Bentley, Hampshire, just six weeks after Gard was allowed to keep his licence by magistrates.

Credit: PA

Under current legislation, drivers are handed three points and a £100 fine if convicted of using a mobile phone at the wheel.

In the past decade at least 205 people have been killed in Britain in crashes involving drivers using handheld phones.

492

RTCs in 2014 where mobile phones were a contributory factor

14%

Drivers who admitted taking pictures or videos while driving

21

Fatal accidents in 2014 where mobile phones were a contributory factor