AUGUSTA, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- Concern over the rising number of crashes involving motor vehicles and pedestrians has a number of stakeholders coming together to try to address the problem.

Last year 19 pedestrians were killed. That’s the highest number in recent memory. The numbers for this year are still being complied, but just within the past few weeks, those numbers are on the rise again.

“It's not a chronic level yet but it sure is at a level of concern”, said Ted Talbot of Maine DOT.

Many fatalities over past two years occurred around dawn or dusk when the morning and evening commutes were peaking and sun was low on the horizon. But the causes of the crashes vary greatly, from distracted driving to poor visibility.

“Here we are talking about multiple incidents as of late so that increases the number and we don't have any kind of commonality to it”, said Talbot.

That makes it difficult for a group put together by Maine DOT to address the problem. The group is working on an education program and looking at improvements to things such as road signage, street lighting, and cross walks.

The uptick in fatalities is disappointing for AAA.

“One crash one fatality is too many and we need to do our best. Nobody wants to hurt somebody else on the road and nobody wants to be hurt”, said Pat Moody of Northern New England AAA.

The agency works to improve safety on the roadways, especially this time of year. Snow will be falling soon and this weekend we roll back the clocks.

“We now have folks that are commuting home, whether it be walking, riding or driving a car, in the dark hours”, said Moody.

He says that usually leads to a spike in drowsy driving. The bottom line is both drivers and pedestrians must put safety first and do their best to be more aware of each other.