According to the National Safety Council, traffic deaths went up about 6 percent nationwide to an approximate total of 40,200 deaths compared to 37,757 the previous year. The last time the number was that high was 2007, just before the recession when there were 41,000 fatalities.

Improving economy, cheaper gas prices and an increase of about 3 percent in miles driven annually were the contributing factors.

In the report, Deborah Hersman, the council's president, stated that "motor vehicle fatality numbers have been ringing the alarm for two years. Unfortunately, we have been tone-deaf to the data and the carnage on our roadways. If we fail to take action, the death toll will continue to rise."

Many state officials say the cause of most fatalities is seat belts (a lack thereof), booze and speed. Driver distraction is another leading cause. Teens, due to a better economy, have an increased presence on the roads and they have the highest crash rates.

This is happening even though the new vehicles have the latest safety technology .

This warm weather can lure people into thinking winter driving is over. It's not. We may get a another dose of winter late next week.

Just be cautious out there. Watch your speed, don't drink and drive and be aware. Stop texting. With melting going on there could be re-freeze overnight, creating slippery spots in the morning. Watch out for  those.

Young Woman Driving Car

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