TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) -- Preliminary figures show that 514 people died in state highway accidents investigated by state troopers in 2012.
The numbers were released recently by the Alabama Department of Transportation and the Alabama Department of Public Safety.
State officials said that in 59 percent, or 251 of the statewide fatalities investigated by state troopers, the victims were not wearing seat belts.
The Tuscaloosa News reports that state troopers investigate traffic wrecks that occur on Alabama's rural, state, U.S. and interstate highways. Wrecks in cities are handled by local police and are not included in the preliminary figures.
Data from crashes investigated by local law enforcement won't be compiled until later this year, so the total number of fatalities, including the percentage not wearing seat belts is expected to climb even higher.