(KFVS) - The number of people dying in car crashes is on the rise.
In 2015, more than 38,000 people died in traffic related crashes nationwide, which is a figure 8 percent higher than the previous year, according to the National Safety Council.
Missouri traffic deaths jumped 14 percent in 2015, while Illinois and Kentucky saw a 12 percent increase.
That spike is the largest year-to-year increase in 50 years according to the council.
NSC speculates the rise is connected to a more prosperous economy, lower unemployment and low gas prices.
The NSC reports that your average gallon of gas dropped 28 cents in 2015, and American drivers are spending more time behind the wheel as a result.
"It only takes me about twenty to twenty-five dollars to fill up, which is great!" said motorist Ashley Dunn in Marion on Thursday. "Before, it was costing me almost sixty to fill up."
"The more people that are out on the roads, the more wrecks there are going to be," said fellow motorist Glenda meadows. "Because people aren't paying attention to what they're doing."
On Thursday, Illinois State Police held a seminar at Rend Lake College for area students focusing on driver safety and responsibility.
ISP Trooper Christopher "Joey" Watson spoke about the dangers of distracted driving at the event.
According to ISP, more than one-million crashes per year are caused by distracted driving.