It seems that most people cannot wake up in the morning until after they have their cup of coffee or other caffeinated drink of choice. While caffeine in moderation can keep people focused and alert, there is now a study that links excessive caffeine consumption among truck drivers to an increased likelihood of crashes.
Conducted by a lecturer in transport safety at Loughborough University Design School in Leicestershire, United Kingdom, and co-sponsored by the Virginia Tech Transport Institute, the study examined 3,000 drivers in eight states. The conclusion was that short-term use was fine. Five or more cups of coffee or caffeine drinks over a long period, on the other hand, is indicative of a 27.8% chance of a truck driver being involved in a crash within three years of their previous crash. Those who drink one cup have a 21.6% chance of being involved in a crash within three years.
Red flag for unhealthy behavior
The study pointed out that coffee or caffeine drink was not necessarily the direct cause of the crashes, but it indicates drivers with an unhealthy lifestyle. These associated behaviors could include:
- Poor eating habits
- Poor sleeping habits
- Higher likelihood of alcohol consumption
- Cigarette smoking
- Higher likelihood of drug use
These associated contributors can translate into a higher risk of causing a crash.
Drivers spending more time on the road
Truck drivers are essential workers because they are a key component in getting products to consumers and raw materials to manufacturers. To accommodate the higher than usual demand, the U.S. government suspended rules regarding the number of hours truckers can drive.
Not all unhealthy drivers are unsafe drivers, nor are all health drivers safe drivers, but the study raises important issues about road safety and driver health when more of them are spending more time behind the wheel.