Vermont state officials are blaming a lack of seat belt usage, speeding and driving while impaired for a big jump in the number of traffic fatalities in the state.
The state Agency of Transportation says traffic fatalities were up 68 percent in the January-to-June period over the same six months of 2015, which saw historically low numbers of traffic accident deaths.
The cases in which people killed weren't wearing seat belts went from 47 percent of all fatalities in January to June of 2015 to 64 percent in the first six months of this year.
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Impairment by alcohol and-or other drugs was a contributing factor in nearly half of this year's fatal crashes in Vermont - a trend that matches that of 2015.