A TAXI driver has criticised potential plans to ban drivers using mobile phones on hands-free mode.

Bob Mullen, a taxi driver of 14 years and a representative of Furness Taxi Trade Association, said criminalising hands-free phone use would make his job ‘extremely difficult’.

His message came in response to a report published by the Commons Transport Select Committee which recommended that the penalties for driving while using a hand-held phone should be reviewed.

The report also suggested the use of hand-held devices gives the ‘misleading impression’ that hands-free use is safe despite it creating ‘the same risks of a collision’.

In 2017, there were 773 casualties on Britain’s roads - including 43 deaths and 135 serious injuries - in crashes where a driver using a mobile was a contributory factor.

However, Mr Mullen said hands-free mobile use was a ‘vital part’ of his job.

“It would make life pretty impossible for myself and other industries such as delivery drivers and the police,” Mr Mullen said.

“Hands-free is exactly the same as having a conversation with a passenger sat next to you.

“I can’t see the ban working as so many people rely on a mobile in the car.”

However, Cumbria Police and Crime Commissioner Peter McCall, said he was ‘broadly supportive’ of the prospective plans.

“The evidence seems to be clear that any sort of distraction increases the number of accidents,” Mr McCall said.

“I do worry about how this would be policed as hands-free is used in so many different industries including police.

“I think there will have to be some exemptions for certain professions.”