Swindon’s taxi drivers have joined calls not to ban hands-free devices.

They spoke out after the Commons Transport Select Committee suggested that using a hands-free device while driving creates the same danger as using a normal handset, which has been banned since 2003.

A ban on hands-free devices could have a massive impact on the business, says Dave Mackie, owner of 121 Swindon Taxis.

“The ban would have a frightening effect on my business.

"We get our work through electronic devices,” he said.

“For bluetooth devices it could just be a touch of a button or we even have voice control.

“How is it any different to talking to someone sat next to you?

“100 per cent of my business is based around hands-free devices. Years ago, with a radio, it was a different story because you had to concentrate on it.

“But nowadays things can be voice-activated so there shouldn’t be an issue.

“If you can’t talk at the same time as driving then perhaps you shouldn’t be driving.

“I’m all for safety but it’s civil liberties gone mad.”

Dave, who has been driving taxi’s for 40 years, sees hands-free devices as the same as talking to a passenger.

He added: “With modern vehicles everything is voice activated. Of course it will depend on the individual driving the car but if you’re a taxi driver you should be able to do both.

“You still see people texting on their handheld as they’re driving and that’s completely unacceptable.

“Using your voice is no different to talking to a person, I really can’t see the difference.

“A ban is a ridiculous idea, how would police work?

“They use hands-free devices to report crimes and speak to control, you see it on the police shows on TV.

“If there’s a ban it would have to be for everyone, including them.”

Taxi companies often rely on hands-free devices to accept jobs and to work out the fares of each trip.

Dave continued: “The argument just doesn’t exist, texting and using a handheld is completely unacceptable, I can agree with that.”

An expert had told the committee that using a hands-free device caused the same amount of distraction as being at the legal limit for alcohol blood level in England and Wales.

The cross-party group have said that a public consultation on the proposal to ban the devices should be published by the end of the year.