On Tuesday, the Commons transport committee said the Government should consider making hands-free calls a criminal offence. MPs drew on research showing that the “cognitive distraction” from hands-free calling makes it four times more likely a driver could crash - the same as with a hand-held call.
This came as a surprise to many, including some Telegraph readers who argued that music and talking to someone in the passenger seat are just as likely to be “cognitive distractions”. Our very own Ed Wiseman, however, welcomed the news on the basis that while hands-free calling might be legal, it’s most definitely not safe.
In a poll onsite, readers shared their preference for whether they thought driving while taking hands-free phone calls should be banned and the response was fairly split. We have gathered the best Telegraph reader comments on the issue and shared them below. But where do you stand? Should hands-free phone calls while driving be banned or not? Join the debate in the comments section below.
'It is actually irrelevant whether or not this change in the law is made'
"The only time I have needed to make a phone call from my car was to contact the AA having broken down. Indeed, the only reason I have a mobile phone is for this purpose and that is simply because of the scarcity of telephone boxes.
"It is actually irrelevant whether or not this change in the law is made, there is no chance of it ever being enforced with the necessary rigour to make any difference: stop at any junction and you will see drivers merrily chatting away with phone in hand as they drive past; crawl in a queue of traffic and watch your neighbour busily tapping away at their screen, eyes firmly affixed to their lap rather than the road ahead.
"Having lived for over forty years without mobile communications quite happily and successfully, I do not profess to understand why the world appears so dependent upon them. Obviously I am in a minority here. Until this apparent addiction is broken a significant number of drivers will continue to flout the law, whatever it may be."
'Making a phone call is not the same as talking to a passenger'
Making a phone call is not the same as talking to a passenger. The other party cannot see you're driving so doesn't know when you might be doing something important. That's not even the worst bit. The driver knows the other party can't see them either so their attention is divided to make up for this.
We all see the sad results of the many accidents caused by this. Yet to put in sensible controls - i.e insist you stop your car before making a phone call - is "authoritarian."
'Hands off hands free'
"This is absurd. On this basis, we'd better forget any form of car pooling and only drive on our own. Because clearly, if having a conversation with someone on the other end of a hands-free device is deemed dangerous, then it is equally unsafe to interact with the passenger/s travelling with you. Hands off hands-free."
'They absolutely should be banned'
"Absolutely they should ban these. It's not about hitting a button to answer a call, it's not about the casual chat to your mother or mate about plans for the weekend
"It's those who take work calls (I've even been on conference calls where an attendee was driving!), those having arguments and those requiring any kind of thought that stops you concentrating on driving that are the problem."
'I find I have to concentrate harder on a conversation using hands-free'
"I find I have to concentrate harder on a conversation using hands-free than a conversation with a passenger. It is a definite distraction from driving. So I agree completely with this proposal. Using a phone, “hands-free” or not, ought not to be as socially unacceptable as drink-driving, but it should be banned."
'Simply not credible in the real world'
"The research is a joke. They say that using a phone even hands free makes it three times more likely you’ll have an accident than talking to a passenger. Trouble is they rely on the passenger not talking to the driver if the situation makes it dangerous - in other words the passenger needs to be a road aware as the driver.
"Simply not credible in the real world."
'It would help if people using hand-held phones were caught and prosecuted'
"The first sentence: "how blasé we’ve become about driving" is in my opinion, one of the major causes of accidents.
"Modern cars now have so many "bells & whistles" that take away driver control: Automatic Transmissions, cruise control,automatic wipers, automatic lights, automatic lane warnings etc etc
"The driver has very little to do. Make cars more basic so that the driver has to pay attention to what is going on.
"As an aside it would help if people using hand-held phones were caught and prosecuted - that would be a good first step - no need to bring in further legislation until existing laws are enforced."
'People don't know how to use the voice activated stuff properly in the car'
"The problem is that a lot of people don't know how to use the voice activated stuff properly in the car, and start pushing buttons and getting into a tizzy because things are not working. That’s where it all starts to go wrong."
'The law needs to be used to reflect the serious nature of the problem'
"The basic problem is that the original law was a complete dogs breakfast and has resulted in drivers believing that it is perfectly safe to drive and hold a phone conversation (which is very different to talking to a passenger).
"It was designed to make enforcement easier, but sent the wrong message and now any attempt to redress this is being regarded by the motoring public as an infringement of their personal liberty. There is a huge amount of scientific evidence that says that phone conversations while driving are dangerous. Far more so than music or satnav.
"I am not suggesting that a blanket ban is the complete answer because there are sensible reasons why some drivers need to be able to communicate, but the law needs to be used to reflect the serious nature of the problem."
'Common sense is what is needed'
"It has long been obvious to me that making hands-free telephone calls while driving is a dangerous distraction.
"I simply concentrate on the driving and then tell the person at the other end of the phone that I was negotiating a hazard on the road. Not once has the other party said anything other than well done or not an issue, safety is more important. Common sense (which seems to have disappeared) is what is needed, not a blanket ban."