WASHINGTON, Aug. 29 (Xinhua) — As many as 35,092 people were killed in car crashes in the United States in 2015, up 7.2 percent from the previous year, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) said on Monday.

The sharp rise broke a recent trend of fewer traffic fatalities witnessed per year in the country, according to a related NHTSA annual report.

"35,092. That is the number of people who died on our nation's highways in motor vehicle traffic crashes in 2015," the NHTSA said in a press release, calling on tech firms, educational bodies and the private sector to use the data to analyze how to reduce the risk of fatal crashes on roads.

"The journey toward zero deaths on our roads will be a long one, but data will provide the guiding lights to take us there," it said.

Distracted driving, drowsy driving and increased cellphone use on the wheel are all thought to have played a role in the increase of car accidents.

It is estimated that the number of vehicle-related deaths is continuing to rise in 2016 since more drivers are now on the U.S. roads thanks to more fuel-efficient vehicles, lower gas prices and a decreased unemployment rate.

U.S. motorists drove record-breaking 1.58 trillion miles, or 2.53 trillion km, equal to 250 roundtrips from Earth to Pluto, in the first half of 2016, according to the data from the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) issued last week.

The milage went up 3.3 percent from the same period in 2015 when drivers logged the current record of 1.54 trillion miles, or 2.46 trillion km, the FHWA data found.