Twice in the last week, a pedestrian has been hit by a car in the Spokane area and taken to the hospital with life-threatening injuries. Unfortunately auto pedestrian collisions have been rising since 2009 and it's not necessarily the driving public's fault.
Here in the United States a pedestrian is killed every two hours and Spokane added to the grim statistics last Friday when a young family was hit crossing Monroe Street. Sarah Burrows-Roberts and her kids are among the growing number of pedestrians hit by cars.
The rise in collisions coincides with the widespread use of cell phones behind the wheel.
"Distracted driving is definitely a huge factor. Distracted driving has actually taken over number one as the cause for fatal collisions nationwide," Spokane County Sheriff's Deputy Craig Chamberlin said.
But distracted drivers are not the only people to blame for the increase in auto-pedestrian collisions. Spokane's most recent crashes happened when pedestrians passed up crosswalks and waded into traffic in the middle of the block.
In 70-percent of all auto-pedestrian fatalities the victims were actually jaywalking.
"In this specific collision that happened last night is a perfect example. There's a marked crosswalk within a hundred feet of where the pedestrian ran across the road," Chamberlin said.
So the driver of the vehicle won't get a ticket but the injured pedestrian will.
Even when people do use marked crosswalks there's not a guarantee that distracted drivers will see them.
"Make eye contact with the driver and make sure that they see you and that they are slowing down and stopping for you before stepping into the roadway," Spokane Police Sergeant Lydia Taylor said.
You should know that more pedestrians are hit by cars in October and December than any other time of the year.
In half of all auto-pedestrian crashes either the driver or victim has been drinking. That's why the number one day for auto-pedestrian crashes in January 1. Last minute holiday shopping makes December 23 the number two day, and unfortunately Halloween is the third deadliest day for auto- pedestrian collisions.
The time you are most likely to hit a pedestrian is between 6 p.m. and 9 p.m.