Traffic deaths on Illinois highways are on a pace to exceed last year's total of just over 1,000.
The Kankakee Daily-Journal reports there were 255 deaths on the roads through last week - compared with 179 at the same point last year.
Gianna Urgo is spokeswoman for the Illinois Department of Transportation. She says a mild winter and lower gas prices have encouraged more driving. She says statistics tend to level out during the course of a year.
Deaths in 2015 totaled 1,003. That's the highest since 1,043 died in 2008. Fatalities have dropped significantly since the 1960s, when an average 2,200 were killed annually on the state's roads.