The potential for danger is unavoidable for anyone who must travel the Region's busiest roads.
Each day, we take to local interstates, highways and other thoroughfares, commuting to work, driving to the store or transporting precious family cargo to school, Little League or so many other staple events in our lives.
Anyone who has resided in the Region for any length of time likely has seen the aftermath of, witnessed first-hand or even been involved in traffic collisions.
Those who follow Region news know the anecdotal regularity of deadly crashes.
Beyond the monetary tolls charged to traverse some stretches of Region roadway is a costly toll on human lives throughout Northwest Indiana.
The Interstate 80/94 and 90 corridor accounts for the Region's deadliest stretch of road, and it’s happening in a relatively compact space.
Sixty-two miles of the Interstate 80 corridor run through Lake, Porter and LaPorte counties.
That's about 41 percent of the state's share of the nationwide corridor. Meanwhile, the Region accounts for 78 percent of the fatalities on the same stretch in Indiana.
But grouped together, U.S. highways, which combine a glut of vehicle traffic with pedestrians and local intersections, posed the biggest death toll. At least 99 fatal crashes claimed 106 lives on Region U.S. highways over five years.
In today's special section, The Times reveals the results of a data-driven, computer-assisted investigation of 373 fatal crashes, which claimed 404 lives on Lake, Porter and LaPorte counties, over five years.
The project, by the numbers, definitively identifies the Region's deadliest roads based on data maintained by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Most importantly, The Times investigation delves into some of the leading causes of fatal crashes in Northwest Indiana — and hopefully begins a conversation regarding what can be done to improve safety and prevent tragedy.
Much of it comes down to personal responsibility.
In this special section, you'll read about how Northwest Indiana eclipses the state and national percentages of fatal accidents linked to drunken driving.
We'll also explore the emerging impact of distracted driving — including texting behind the wheel — and its potentially fatal consequences on Region roads.
You'll hear from the experts about the high rates of reckless driving leading to roadway deaths.
And you'll hear of the human toll this has taken, not just in the 404 deaths on our roads, but in the impact on the family members and friends left behind.
Laced through all of Northwest Indiana's deadliest roads is a common thread: the oftentimes suffocating road congestion that translates into the highest numbers of fatal accidents.
What is being done to alleviate this congestion? What political or social roadblocks remain to a safer, less crowded traffic flow?
We hope you take time to consider the findings of this investigation — and that it gives our readers pause regarding certain behaviors that contribute to roadway fatalities.