Inexperienced Behind the Wheel

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(COLO) – Drivers build habits over time; the question is, will those habits be hazardous? After earning a driver’s license, it can be natural to relax a little behind the wheel, yet one of the most critical phases is beginning. This is when a person begins to increase the frequency of driving, traveling new routes, and as a result, encountering more road hazards, including changing weather.

While aggressive driving was the top identifiable human factor for serious injury and fatal lane violation crashes in 2022, driver inexperience was the solid second-place human factor. Yet, when looking at a four-year average (2019 – 2022) for lane violation crashes investigated by the Colorado State Patrol, driver inexperience was the top contributing human factor.

“Having a false sense of safety in a vehicle is something we educate all drivers about. New drivers battle this misperception along with general inexperience in areas such as changing lanes, failing to use turn signals and not understanding why road rules equate to safety on the roads,” stated Col. Mathew C Packard, chief of the Colorado State Patrol. “Sadly, until some drivers experience the inability to stay in their lane going around a sharp corner above the speed limit or receive a ticket for an unsafe lane change, it is hard to convince them.”

Last year Colorado State Trooper issued 4,166 citations to drivers of all experience levels. The top counties receiving the most lane violations, in descending order, were:

  1. Douglas County – 446
  2. El Paso County – 372
  3. Adams County – 319
  4. Jefferson County – 309
  5. Weld County – 188

Troopers continue to take a low-tolerance approach to the top fatal crash factors, including lane violations, while launching a yearlong campaign called “Drive Safe.” This campaign reminds people to control their lane position based on their current driving environment.



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.