Texting while driving is becoming a bigger concern than impaired driving, according to Fredericton Police Staff Sgt. Brian Ford.

He contends distracted drivers are "every bit" as dangerous as drunk drivers.

"Texting poses a real danger to the motoring public and pedestrians," said Ford, who helped organize the recent Road Safety Week spot checks in the city, when 44 tickets were issued for talking on a cellphone or texting while driving.

"Just taking your eyes off the road for, you know, that two, three, four seconds, and taking your concentration while you're texting, it just takes a second to come across the centre line and you're involved in a head-on collision, he said.

Police are looking at developing a program to notify the registered owner of a vehicle when someone driving it has been seen texting or talking on a hand-held phone, said Ford.

Meanwhile, police welcome tips from the public about distracted drivers, he said.

"Well, you know, I think it isn't being a busybody. I think we all need to be involved. I think the way we reduce crime and correct driving habits is we need the public's involvement in this."

Ford says the person reporting the crime has to be able to identify the driver in order for charges to be laid.

Oftentimes, people don't want to get involved to the point where they have to testify in court, he said.