Preliminary data shows that traffic fatalities in the U.S. are up 10.4 percent during the first half of 2016.
The data is not yet finalized, but the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates 17,775 people have died in car crashes during the first six months of this year. That figure is also the highest during the same time period since the first half of 2008, when 17,894 people died in car-related accidents.
The increase can likely be attributed to drivers spending more time on roadways, with the number of miles traveled by drivers in the U.S. increasing 3.3 percent to 50.5 billion miles. The fatality rate has increased from 1.05 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles last year to 1.12 fatalities.
According to NHTSA, traffic fatalities were up 7.2 percent last year, with a total of 35,092 people dying on roadways due to traffic accidents. Preliminary data from NHTSA originally estimated a 7.7-percent increase.