ARLINGTON, VA (CBS Newspath) – Drunk driving continues to cut short thousands of lives each year. It’s a tragedy that got worse during the pandemic and continues to head in the wrong direction.

A teenage girl dies in Texas this month when a pick-up plowed into her home. Police say the driver was drunk.

In Michigan, a driver was charges with killing college student Baily Broderick while under the influence.

Traffic deaths are on the rise for the third straight year. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates more than 9 thousand and 500 hundred people died in crashes in the first quarter of this year alone. That’s about 7% more than the same period last year and the highest number in two decades.

About a third of all crashes are consistently due to driving while impaired.

Administrator Steven Cliff says the trend worsened in the first year of the pandemic, when more than 11 thousand Americans died because of impaired driving. That’s equivalent to the population of the entire city of Cocoa Beach, Florida.

“When every day life came to a halt in March 2020, risky behaviors skyrocketed and traffic fatalities spiked. We hoped these trends were limited to 2020 but sadly they aren’t,” Cliff said.

Megan Carter lost her twin brother in a drunk driving crash when they were 19.

“Jonathan’s life was stolen that evening. My parents were robbed of their son,” Carter said.

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Now with Mothers Against Drunk Driving, she’s working to create a future with no more victims.