MONTREAL - Do you text behind the wheel? What about texting and walking to the point of distraction?
Canadians send nearly 10 million text messages an hour — or 227 million per day — on their cellphones. The Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association wants pedestrians to pay attention when texting, and does not want people driving and texting.
"What we see with cellphones and texting is that it's a growing phenomenon," said Bernard Lord, president of the association, which collects statistics on texting and cellphone use.
"You're putting yourself in danger and you're putting everybody else in danger when you're driving."
While Lord doesn't put walking and texting on the same level as texting behind the wheel, he said people need to be aware of their surroundings.
"With the walking situation, you're less likely to put other people in danger, but you could put yourself in danger. Take a look where you are. Make sure you don't cross at an intersection and get hit."
Despite hands-free driving legislation in some provinces, texting while driving is still a troublesome habit for some.
For Steve, texting and driving involves mostly dealing with work and it's a daily part of his commute. He said he tries to keep his answers to mostly "Yes," or "No" or "I will be there soon."
"Sometimes you've just got to get things done right away," said Steve, who didn't want his real name used because of his job.
He does make his in-car phone calls hands-free, but doesn't apologize for not keeping his fingers off his smartphone's keyboard while driving.
"You drive and you see people eating hamburgers, you see people putting on makeup, you see people reading, you see people shaving," he said.
"I don't think it's as dangerous as they make it out to be unless you're getting into big, long exchanges."
Provinces, including Newfoundland and Labrador, Ontario, Quebec, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta, British Columbia have hands-free or distracted driving laws.
In Saskatchewan, the fine for driving and using a cellphone is $280 and four demerit points under the province's Safe Driver Recognition and Driver Improvement program.
Manitoba Public Insurance said a recent study shows drivers who are texting spend nearly five seconds looking at their cellphones — enough time at typical highway speeds to cover more than the length of a football field.
In Manitoba, if you get caught talking on a hand-held device or texting while driving, you can be hit with a fine of $199.80.
Despite the fines, there have been plenty of texting accidents, and even deaths, making headlines.
A Quebec woman died in January when her car slammed into the back of a tractor-trailer truck as it merged with traffic near Victoriaville, Que. She had been sending her boyfriend text messages. Her boyfriend wrote on Facebook that the police investigation showed the use of a cellphone while driving caused the accident.
Lord said it's possible the brevity of text messages make cellphone users think it's OK to do while driving.
"My father taught me that when you're driving a car, you're not doing anything else."