Kentucky motorists should take extra care if they plan to travel over the Memorial Day holiday weekend. Traffic fatalities have been rising, and the National Safety Council is estimating that this Memorial Day weekend will be the deadliest one since 2009.

According to the National Safety Council, an estimated 439 fatalities and an additional 50,500 injuries are expected to occur. The NSC is basing its estimates on federal data that shows traffic fatality rates have been trending upwards. In 2015, the number of fatalities rose by 8 percent over the number of fatalities in 2014. This was reportedly the largest increase in traffic fatalities that had happened in 50 years.

Memorial Day weekend marks the unofficial start of summer for many people. The summer months have historically been deadlier on the nation’s roadways than at other times during the year. In 2014, for example, 9,570 people were killed in traffic collisions between May 24 and Aug. 31. The NSC believes that the latest rise in fatalities is partially due to lower gas prices. The agency also points out that irresponsible driving behaviors, such as drunk driving and speeding, occur more frequently during the summer months as well.

When a driver’s careless actions lead to a fatality of a passenger in his or her vehicle or to an occupant of another car, the lives of those affected may be forever changed. The surviving family members of a person who has been killed in such an accident may want to have the help of a lawyer in seeking appropriate compensation for their losses through the filing of a wrongful death lawsuit against the negligent motorist.