By Mark Abrams

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – AAA-Mid-Atlantic is raising the alarm about a sharp rise in highway fatalities so far this year and is concerned about a deadly trend.

AAA-Mid Atlantic’s Jenny Robinson says the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has spotted a nine-percent rise in fatal traffic crashes across the country for the first half of this year, compared to figures from a year ago.

Robinson says it’s a disturbing trend that may be tied to a couple of factors, including more vehicles on the road and more teens and seniors out there as well.

“Last year there was a big jump in highway fatalities among 16-year-old drivers. Twenty-nine fatalities last year compared to 19 in Pennsylvania for the previous year.”

She says a lack of experience and distractions are the biggest factors in teen crashes.

As to seniors, Robinson says Pennsylvania has more than 1.6 million drivers 65 and older and 247 of them accounted for 20-percent of the deaths on the state’s highways.

Slower reaction times, fragile health and the effect of medications are suspected causes in those crashes.

Top Content On CBSPhilly

Watch & Listen LIVE