- Associated Press - Thursday, October 8, 2015

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) - Kentucky officials say statewide traffic deaths are on the rise so far in 2015.

There were 549 fatalities as of Tuesday - 58 more than at the same time last year, according to preliminary numbers from the Kentucky Office of Highway Safety and Kentucky State Police.

Many of the fatalities occurred during the summer travel season, jumping from 253 on June 1 to 549 as of Tuesday.

Bill Bell, executive director of the state Office of Highway Safety, says lower gas prices and decent weather resulted in more people traveling on roadways, which might explain the increase in fatalities.

Of the 549 people killed this year, 215 were not wearing seat belts, 104 died in crashes involving alcohol and 137 died due to driver inattention.

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