Most adults get their day started with a jolt of caffeine. This typically is a cup of coffee but could be energy drinks, soda pop or tea. It enables folks to hit the ground running for work, and the jolt can also strengthen our ability to focus. While most of us use caffeine in moderation, there are those out there who do not.
Now there is a study that examines truck driver’s caffeine consumption. Conducted by a transport safety researcher from Loughborough University Design School in Leicestershire in England in conjunction with the Virginia Tech Transport Institute, the study polled 11,000 drivers in eight states here in the U.S. about their caffeine consumption. Then they focused on those who consumed five or more cups per day.
What they found
While short term caffeine use was acceptable, those who drank five or more cups over a long period were 27.8% chance of getting involved in a crash within three years of the driver’s previous crash. For the sake of comparison, drivers who consumed one drink of caffein had a 21.6% chance of getting involved in another crash with three years.
An indicator for unhealthy behavior
Alcohol impairment directly correlates to a driver’s ability to operate a truck, car or perform other tasks. The caffeine consumption, on the other hand, was indicative of other risky actions that contribute to the increased likelihood of causing an accident. These other behaviors include:
- Poor sleeping habits
- Poor eating habits
- Increased likelihood of alcohol abuse
- Increased likelihood of drug abuse
- Nicotine addiction
These all add up to an unhealthy lifestyle that is dangerous for themselves as well as others on the road.
Pandemic increases hours on the road
The results of this study came amidst the pandemic. It is worth noting that this study was released when truckers are spending more time on the road – truck drivers are essential workers who deliver raw materials and finished products amid the pandemic. To keep up with demand, the U.S. government lifted the rules regarding the number of hours drivers can work.
Not all caffeine users are unsafe drivers, nor are all those who do not use caffeine safe, but the study raises concerns at a time when truck drivers are probably drinking more caffeine than ever.