RICHMOND, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) -- The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety says the number of wrong-way driving crashes has been going up in recent years, resulting in more deaths on roadways across the country.

According to a release, there were 2,008 deaths from such crashes on divided highways between 2015 and 2018, or about 500 deaths a year.

AAA says that is an increase of 34 percent from the 375 deaths that were reported annually between 2010 to 2014.

The release says about 11 people were killed annually in wrong-way crashes between 2015 and 2018 in Virginia, up 10 percent from 2010 to 2014.

Researchers have also found the odds of being a wrong-way driver increase when alcohol is involved, older drivers are behind the wheel, or a person is driving without a passenger.

The release says three people were killed just last week in a crash on Interstate 95 when a driver tried to get away from Virginia State Police troopers.

The crash involved a Dodge Avenger that hit a pick-up head-on, killing both drivers and a passenger in the Avenger.

"Wrong-way crashes on divided highways are often fatal as they are typically head-on collisions," said Dr. David Yang, executive director of the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. "And unfortunately, as the data shows, fatalities from these crashes are on the rise."

The release says AAA is working with the National Transportation Safety Board and other traffic safety organizations to teach drivers about the deadly impacts of wrong-way driving.

These organizations are urging state transportation agencies to adopt driver-based countermeasures to address factors such as alcohol ignition interlocks, strengthened deterrence strategies, driver refresher courses for older adults, and installed more visible signs and signals.

The release adds that six in 10 wrong-way crashes involved an alcohol-impaired driver, with those who have a blood alcohol concentration over the legal limit more likely to be wrong-way drivers than non-alcohol-impaired drivers.

“Alcohol impairment is, by far, the single most significant factor in the majority of wrong-way driving crashes, which unfortunately has not changed since the NTSB issued its Wrong-Way Driving special investigation report in 2012,” said NTSB Director of the Office of Highway Safety, Dr. Rob Molloy. “The important work done by AAA shows that we need to redouble our efforts to address this safety hazard. We know that interventions like ignition interlock devices for all offenders and high-visibility enforcement operations will reduce these types of devastating crashes.”

Additionally, data has shown that drivers over the age of 70 are at higher risk of becoming a wrong-way driver.

And 87 percent of wrong-way drivers were alone in their vehicles. Passengers may help to alert drivers that they are entering a one-way road, prevent them from entering a highway in the wrong direction, or alerting drivers to their error.