Distracted and inattentive driving causes more road deaths than drinking and driving and speed combined, according to the Ontario Provincial Police.
In the first seven weeks of 2012, inattentive driving has killed nine people on roads patrolled by the OPP.
The Canadian Automobile Association and the Traffic Injury Research Foundation hosted a Driven to Distraction Conference at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre Thursday.
A recent CAA survey showed that 94 per cent of Canadians are aware that texting while driving is illegal in their home province. However, more than 50 per cent said that they don't believe the laws are adequately dissuading drivers from texting.
A drive and text simulator was used at the conference to show how much a cell phone can impair a driver's concentration.
CAA Instructor Jonathan Routhier gave Toronto Const. Hugh Smith instructions on his text and drive test.
"I didn't think I was going to be doing that poorly," Smith said. "It's surprising when they were saying somewhere around 600 metres I wasn't looking."
The CAA's Jeff Walker said the conference is about searching for technical and social solutions to this problem.
"There's still a compulsion to be connected, because it's part and parcel of what it's like in everyday life," Walker said.
But his goal is to make texting and driving a taboo — just like drinking and driving.
In a recent blitz on texting and driving the OPP issued more than 350 tickets in one day.