The number of traffic fatalities increased 13.5 percent for the first three months of 2012, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Before this year, traffic fatalities reportedly decreased each year nationwide. Statewide, nearly 3,822 deaths were reported in 2003. By 2011, the number of deaths went down to 3,015.
For the first three months of 2012 statewide fatalities increased at least 12 percent, according to the Texas Department of Transportation. TxDOT has not yet received fatality reports from every county so the number may be different by the end of the year.
Trooper Shawn Baxter with the Texas Department of Public Safety has a few tips for drivers.
"Number 1, buckle up. Number 2, slow down. Take your time to get to where you're going. A simple fix to avoid severe injury or fatality in a crash is the simple act of putting on a seat belt," he said.
He said most of the vehicle crashes he has seen this year involved only one vehicle and one person who did not wear their seat belt. They also typically involved distracted driving.
Although TxDOT has not yet released the current number of local traffic fatalities for 2012, Baxter and other troopers said they have personally noticed an increase in the number of traffic fatalities in the Big Country.
"In the last 3 months we've seen an increase in crashes and fatality rates," Baxter said. "Compared to the first 6 months of 2011, the last 3 months have surpassed that crash and fatality rate."
And summer months prove more fatal for young drivers.
"The number one killer of or younger drivers, ages 15 to 19, are car crashes," he said."We lose more of our young people in car crashes than guns, drugs, disease, gang violence or anything else out there."