Forty-one first responders were killed by distracted drivers while on the side of the road in 2018, a 60% increase from 2017 according to the Emergency Responder Safety Institute.
As of May 2019, 21 firefighters have died due to people driving distracted in areas where firefighters are responding to incidents.
Locally, no first responders have been killed in the area this year.
However, first reponders have been hit by vehicles driven by distracted drivers.
Spokane Valley firefighters respond to multiple calls a day. In the history of the department, SVFD has not experienced any deaths from distracted drivers, but they have has some serious injuries and close calls.
The increase in distracted driving comes from drivers taking photos, posting on social media, and texting while passing by a scene, or while in heavy unpredictable traffic.
According to SVFD, in the time it takes a person to glance down for one second at 20 mph, they can travel 29 feet. At 55 mph, a person can travel the length of a football field.