This year is gearing up to be one of the deadliest years on the nation’s roads in the last decade, with California as one of the notably dangerous states for drivers.
Traffic deaths are 14 percent higher over the first six months of this year compared to the same period last year, the National Safety Council reported. The United States is on pace to have the deadliest driving year since 2007.
Nearly 19,000 people have died in traffic crashes nationwide and more than 2.2 million more were seriously injured, according to the council's August 17 report.
In California, 1,566 people have died in crashes, a 20-percent increase over the same period last year.
California, Florida and Louisiana were among 10 states that saw at least a 20-percent increase in traffic deaths. The state that experienced the greatest rise was Oregon with a 59-percent increase in crash-related deaths.
However, some states, like Connecticut and Delaware, saw dips in motor vehicle-related deaths.
Experts with the National Safety Council attribute the nationwide hike to lower gas prices and better economy. In simple terms, if gas costs less and more people can afford to drive, more will take vacations.
To ensure driving safety, the council recommends drivers to get plenty of sleep or take regular breaks before long trips, never use your cellphone and make sure every passenger buckles up.