(WTNH) – The Department of Transportation is reporting that fatalities on Connecticut roads are up nearly 16 percent compared to last year. This data comes as the DOT Office of Highway Safety is urging people to take extra caution when they hit the roads for the holidays.

According to the DOT, as of November 12, there have been 290 traffic-related deaths in Connecticut. This is up from 257 in 2020 and 216 in 2019.

“If you think it seems more dangerous out on Connecticut’s highways and interstates lately, you’re right,” said Connecticut Department of Transportation Commissioner Joseph Giulietti. “It is a real crisis. It’s happening here and it’s happening across the country. We are seeing an unprecedented increase in fatalities.”

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, around 20,160 people died in car crashes in the first half of 2021, which is up 18.4 percent compared to 2020. This is the largest number of projected fatalities in that time period since 2006.

According to the NHTSA, during the pandemic, driving patterns in the U.S. changed significantly, with speeds increasing drastically. Data shows that speeds haven’t fully come back down as more people continue to return to work and the state’s roadways.