LINTHICUM HEIGHTS, Md. — Maryland officials say more than 500 people died on the state’s roads last year.

Officials announced Wednesday that preliminary data collected by the Department of Transportation shows 523 people died in crashes on Maryland’s roads in 2016. In 2015, officials say 521 people died in crashes.

Preliminary numbers from the National Safety Council show roadway fatalities nationwide rose by more than 6 percent last year to more than 40,000.

Officials say the announcement is part of implementing the Strategic Highway Safety Plan, a collaboration involving federal, state and local officials aiming to cut traffic fatalities in half during the next 20 years.

The plan focuses on preventing impaired, distracted, and aggressive driving and increasing seatbelt use. It also aims to improve conditions for pedestrians and bicyclists.

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