Many truck drivers in Massachusetts and across the U.S. rely on coffee, energy drinks and other caffeinated products to stay awake throughout the day. This can have long-term consequences and even raise truckers’ risk for an accident. A recent study, the results of which were published in the journal Safety Science, has explored the possible link between high caffeine consumption and increased crash risk.
The study looked into two types of truck drivers: those who consume only one cup, glass or pill of a caffeinated product every day, and those who consume over five. A total of 3,007 drivers from eight states participated. Researchers found out that 21.6% and 27.8% of the low and high caffeine users, respectively, had been in an accident in the three years prior to the study.
What was also alarming was that the high caffeine users reported having worse overall health than the others. Many would fail to get adequate sleep or eat properly. Others would smoke and abuse alcohol. Though researchers acknowledge the limitations of self-reported data, the answers are no doubt honest since the participants were assured that everything would remain confidential.
This is one of the first large-scale studies to analyze the actual caffeine-consuming habits of truckers. Future studies will need to consider variables, though, like the caffeine content of different products.
Poor health and lack of sleep are factors in all too many motor vehicle accidents. If it is clear that negligence is involved in such crashes, victims who were not to blame may seek compensation from the responsible driver’s auto insurance company. Massachusetts being a no-fault state, there are limits on who can file a third-party insurance claim, so it may be wise to consult a lawyer.