Coffee: A cure for morning drowsiness and drowsy truck driving?

Posted on in Car Accidents

For many people, no matter their profession, a morning cup of coffee is as habitual as a morning shower. It is just part of their routine, a way to prepare oneself for the trials of the day. For truck drivers, however, a study suggests that coffee is a bit more: it is a potential life-saver.

An Australian study questioned hundreds of commercial drivers. The subjects were asked about their caffeine consumption, hours slept, hours behind the wheel and other questions related to their health such as whether they suffered from sleep apnea. With variables in mind, the researchers came up with a pretty clear conclusion.

According to the research, drivers who consistently drank caffeine, whether as coffee, energy drinks, soda, etc., were significantly less likely to have gotten into a truck accident. Specifically, the study indicates that caffeine consumption can reduce the risk of truck accidents by about 63 percent.

The obvious reason why this would be the case is that caffeine helps people wake up and stay alert. Hours on any job, including behind the wheel of a tractor trailer, are easier to get through with caffeine. The difference for commercial drivers is that lack of energy and focus due to drowsiness can cause a crash, whereas, for example, a drowsy office worker probably won't be a safety threat to anyone.

The complexity of this conclusion is whether it should be encouraged that drivers drink more caffeine or whether it should be encouraged that they get more sleep. Either way, the reality is that driver fatigue endangers the lives of motorists every day. Our California truck accident lawyers handle cases involving victims of negligent drivers and trucking companies.

Source: Medical Daily, "Caffeine Can Make Driving Safer by Maintaining Driver's Alertness," Justin Caba, March 25, 2013

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