WESTERN OREGON -- Over the weekend, there were five motorcycle and vehicle crashes that killed nine people.
Oregon State Police said there have already been 15 percent more fatalities due to motor vehicle crashes in Oregon compared to this time last year.
Based on data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the number of fatalities on Oregon roads have been increasing over the years.
In 2013 there were 313 fatalities. There were 357 in 2014, 446 in 2015 and 495 in 2016.
"We want to reverse that trend,” Lt. Vonn Schleicher with Oregon State Police said. “That's always been our goal, to reduce fatal motor vehicle crashes.”
ODOT spokesperson Lou Torres said part of the reason for the increase in crashes is a better economy.
"A lot of that is related to the recovery of the economy,” Torres said. “More people are driving, so there are more vehicles on the road and there are more vehicle miles being driven.”
He said this can often lead to more congestion on the roadways.
Community member Edie Fry said she has plans for Memorial Day weekend and will be going out of town. She said the amount of recent crashes is concerning.
"It makes me kind of apprehensive," Fry said.
However, like many others, she won’t be canceling her plans this weekend.
Officials said to stay safe. It’s important to plan ahead and make sure your vehicle is safe to drive. They said you should communicate with friends and family to let them know where you are. They also stressed the importance of not driving impaired or distracted.
"You just have to be alert and be aware of what's going on around you," Fry said.
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