Drivers making hands-free calls are just as distracted as those on handheld phones, a Which? study has shown.
Meanwhile texting is far more distracting than making a call – and more so than drinking up to the legal limit, according to the research.
A driving simulator gauged reaction time to hazards while researchers tried texting, making calls and drinking to the legal limit.
Using a hands-free and handheld mobile both led to a 19% reduction in attention levels. Texting led to a reduction of 79% and drinking 11%.
Using a handheld phone at the wheel became an offence in 2007 but hands-free kits remain legal.
The study said: ‘Even though it’s legal to use a hands-free kit while driving, our researchers found it just as distracting as using a handheld mobile.’