Truck Drivers Less Likely To Have Accident If Caffeine Consumed: Study

New research involving the risk of accidents for long distance truck drivers reveals that drinking coffee or other caffeinated beverages does actually help drivers remain alert and prevent vehicle collisions. 

An Australian case-control study was published online this week by the British Medical Journal, evaluatinf the risk of accidents with long-haul truck drivers who drove tractor trailers with one, two or three trailers. The research included drivers who consumed some form of caffeine containing product, like coffee, tea, soda, energy drinks or caffeine tablets, and drivers who did not consume products containing caffeine.

Researchers interviewed 530 drivers who were recently involved in collisions and 517 drivers who had no collisions while driving within the past 12 months. After accounting for age, health, sleep patterns, sleep disorders, miles driven during a haul, hours slept and night time breaks taken; researchers found drivers who consumed caffeinated beverages were 63% less likely to be involved in an accident.

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The study found 43% of drivers consumed substances containing caffeine solely with the intention of keeping them awake during the long-hauls. These drivers were less likely to experience a crash than the drivers who consumed nothing containing caffeine.

While researchers attribute the reduced risk of crash for long distance truck drivers to the caffeine, they caution consumers against using caffeine as the panacea for road safety overall. Lead author of the study, Lisa N. Sharwood from the George Institute for Global Health in Sydney, Australia, advises caffeine is a useful strategy to stay alert and awake while driving, but a driver’s overall fatigue and health management should be considered apart from caffeine consumption.

Concern Rising Over Energy Drinks

The new study follows recent concerns over side effects of energy drink consumption which is under scrutiny for allegedly causing increased heart rate, irregular heart beat, palpitations, sleep disturbances, hyperglycemia and in some cases even death.

In a report published by the Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN) the number of emergency room visits involving energy drinks, like Red Bull, Monster and Rockstar doubled between 2007 and 2011.

According to information released by the FDA, 13 deaths have been linked to 5 Hour Energy Shots, along with more than 100 reports concerning heart attacks and other health concerns.

Six deaths were linked to Monster Energy Drinks over the last few years, along with 37 incidents involving the beverage and many other serious health concerns. A 14 year old California resident suffered cardiac arrest last year and died, allegedly as a result of caffeine overdose as the result of drinking two Monster Energy drinks within a 24 hour-period. Rockstar is also under fire, the company was cited for 13 non-fatal adverse health event reports submitted to the FDA concerning.


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