A new report from the Transport Research Laboratory has found that the number of car owners who drive while talking or interacting with a handheld mobile device has increased since the introduction of legislation banning the practise in 2006.
A fine of £60 and the potential for penalty points were introduced to help cut the number of people using mobiles without hands-free on the road, but after an initial dip in figures immediately following the introduction of the new rules, more people are ignoring safety advice now than ever before.
Approximately 2.6 per cent of drivers admitted to using their mobiles in this fashion whilst driving in 2006 and in 2007 this fell to 1.4 per cent.
This latest report has found that a rise back to 2.8 per cent has occurred in 2009, with over 14,000 drivers involved in the study.
The study included commuters as well as commercial drivers who operate vans or taxis, suggesting that the rise is universal.
Women under 30 were found to be most likely to use their mobiles whilst driving, although for men the most common offenders were over 30.
Various government officials and road safety experts have labelled the results of the report as worrying.
The report's author Dr Nick Reed explained that reaction time and lane discipline were the most significantly affected abilities when using a mobile on the road, severely increasing the risk of causing an accident.
Although hands-free mobile use is permitted and the numbers of those using the technology to talk while driving has risen, some campaigners and researchers claim that evidence suggests hands-free chatting can be just as dangerous as hand-held mobile use.