Kansas has 22 percent increase in traffic fatalities in 2016

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) – Kansas recorded a 22 percent increase in traffic fatalities in 2016 compared with the previous year, and one state trooper says distracted driving is the main reason.

The Kansas Department of Transportation says 432 people died in traffic accidents in 2016.

The Wichita Eagle reports that the National Safety Council says traffic fatalities increased 6 percent nationwide in 2016.

Kansas Highway Patrol trooper Chad Crittenden says distracted driving is the key reason for the increase. He says he recently watched 14 drivers while he was stopped at a busy Wichita intersection – and 11 of the drivers went through the intersection either talking or texting on their phones.

Others say lower gas prices also are a factor, because more drivers are on the roads.

Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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