The National Safety Council (NSC) has released preliminary data that shows U.S. traffic fatalities in 2016 increased to the highest amount in nearly a decade.

In 2016, approximately 40,200 motorists and pedestrians were killed in auto accidents throughout the U.S., the first time the fatality rate has surpassed 40,000 since 2007. The number of fatalities may increase once all data has been confirmed.

Last year’s number of traffic fatalities marks a six percent increase compared to 2015, and a 14 percent growth since 2014 which is the largest increase within a two-year period in more than 50 years.

Traffic safety advocates believe the increase in auto accident deaths can partially be attributed to economic improvements that allowed more people to choose driving as an option for long-distance commuting. As more drivers on the road caused the number of miles traveled to increase, the number of fatal accidents increased as well.

NSC officials, however, have stated that drivers have begun to exhibit increasingly dangerous behaviors when operating vehicles and that the complacent belief that car accidents are inevitable also contributed to the 2016 traffic fatality count.

The NSC surveyed 2,000 drivers over the age of 21-years-old to evaluate the mentality motorists have toward risky driving behaviors.

The participants revealed c