Coffee, Commuting and Crashes

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(COLO) – Knowing your way to work, school or the gym like the back of your hand may not be a good thing. April is National Distracted Driving Month, and the Colorado State Patrol warns motorists that bad habits stemming from routine drives may contribute to an increased risk of a crash.

“Driving time, especially on daily or frequently traveled routes, lends itself to the temptation of distraction,” stated Col. Matthew C. Packard, chief of the Colorado State Patrol. “Commutes can be long, and people have many tasks on their plate, which can cause some drivers to make a poor choice to take that time back by texting a friend, eating a meal while driving, or other non-driving activities. Driving needs to be the sole focus, even when a route is routine.”

Looking at Colorado State Patrol crash data over a three-year period (2021-2023), troopers could not find any significant seasonal patterns or monthly peaks for crashes caused by inattentiveness. However, two trends did seem to emerge:

  • Inattentive driving crashes were steady Monday through Friday and actually declined on Saturdays and Sundays.
  • Hours of the day most common for inattentive driving crashes were attributed to morning and afternoon commuting rush hours.

“Whether you are still waking up on your way to work or exhausted returning home, traffic is heavy across our state during rush hours, and your focus needs to be on driving,” stated Col. Packard. “Avoid drinking coffee or grooming on your way to work. And always keep your eyes on the road. Your time to react to other motorists, pedestrians or other hazards is reduced or eliminated when distracted.”

In addition, when looking at the location of inattentive crashes, the Colorado State Patrol saw that off-highway roadways, like city streets and neighborhoods, moved into the second most common area, again suggesting commuting as a factor. 

“Sharing the road safely is every motorist's responsibility, “explained Col Packard. “If you are doing anything that diverts your attention, you are driving distracted. You are part of the problem.”

Driver drinking a big gulp


Since our origin in 1935, the Colorado State Patrol (CSP) has focused on preserving human life and protecting property within our communities. Our 1,100 members embody the core values of Honor, Duty, and Respect in their daily jobs.  In addition to our expertise in motor vehicle safety on the state’s roadways, the CSP is responsible for the Governor and other dignitaries’ protection, commercial motor vehicle enforcement, hazardous materials, homeland security, communications, investigative services, criminal interdiction, community education, aviation operations, and more.