PHOENIX — So far, 80 people have died on Arizona highways in 2019, DPS officials said Monday.

This time last year, only 68 people had been killed.

"We can't point to one thing," Trooper Kameron Lee said. "Every year, we continue to increase our population, so there's more cars on the freeways, that may factor into it."

Lee said DPS does examine traffic data to look for patterns, but right now there doesn't seem to be an obvious pattern. 

Col. Frank Milstead tweeted last week that seat belts were not in use in 30 percent of those fatalities. Drugs, alcohol or a combination of both were a factor in 25 percent of them. 

Trooper Lee said the traffic deaths are not isolated to the metro area, but appear to be spread out across the state. Lee said DPS will continue to track traffic fatalities and look for patterns.