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Oregon Traffic Fatalities Soar To Highest Number In More Than A Decade

Two people were killed in separate traffic crashes in Oregon Tuesday. That means 2016 is now the deadliest year on Oregon's roads in more than a decade.

On Tuesday evening a 22-year old pedestrian was struck and killed along a state highway just east of Redmond. About an hour later, a single vehicle crash on a freeway off-ramp took the life of a 30-year-old Portland driver. Those deadly wrecks follow closely on the heels of a triple-fatal crash on Highway 26 near Warm Springs Monday.

All told 489 people have died on Oregon roads so far in 2016. That's the most since 2003, when 512 people were killed.

The Oregon Department of Transportation said contributing factors may include more vehicles on the road due to the economic recovery, as well as an increase in distracted driving due to electronic devices.

Oregon lawmakers will consider a proposal next year to increase the first-time penalty for distracted driving to $6,000 or a year in prison.

Copyright 2016 Northwest News Network

Chris Lehman
Chris Lehman graduated from Temple University with a journalism degree in 1997. He landed his first job less than a month later, producing arts stories for Red River Public Radio in Shreveport, Louisiana. Three years later he headed north to DeKalb, Illinois, where he worked as a reporter and announcer for NPR–affiliate WNIJ–FM. In 2006 he headed west to become the Salem Correspondent for the Northwest News Network.