AUGUSTA, Maine — Public safety officials say the number of highway deaths in Maine is up 50 percent over last year.

The Bureau of Highway Safety says 97 people have died on Maine roads so far this year as of Friday. At the same time last year, there had been 65 deaths.

Officials say Maine has had four exceptionally safe years in a row on the state’s roadways, with last year being the safest since 1959.

Excessive speed is usually the top factor for highway fatalities.