Is texting while driving as serious a safety concern as driving under the influence?

Of 6,000 people surveyed in a new Canadian Automobile Association poll, 85 per cent said they felt texting while driving is their top road safety concern.

It’s the first time in more than a decade respondents did not list impaired driving as the No. 1 concern — although impaired driving came in a close second, with 83 per cent listing it as their next highest worry.

According to Halifax Regional Police spokesman Const. Brian Palmeter, they wrote up about 1,500 drivers city-wide last year for using their cellphones while driving. Halifax police don’t differentiate between speaking on cellphones while driving and other cellphone usage, such as texting or checking email.

Transportation Minister Bill Estabrooks said talking on cellphones is bad enough.

“The texting element is even more consequential,” said Estabrooks, adding he hopes people would use common sense.