Truck Safety: Caffeine Can Help and That's a Problem
A new study is concluding that truck drivers who drink coffee or other caffeinated beverages make themselves much less likely to cause or be involved in an accident. This is good news on the surface-but the findings also highlight an ongoing safety problem in the trucking industry.
This research is based on a comparison of more than 1,000 truckers. Researchers adjusted the conclusions to rule out a number of other crash-related factors that frequently play a big role in accidents, including: driver inexperience, long work hours, driver fatigue and age. Based on this analysis, truckers who drink caffeinated beverages while driving become 63 percent less likely to cause an accident. That is a big improvement.
On the flip side, the fact that something as simple as coffee can make such a big impact on truck accidents is bad news for Texas drivers. This highlights the persistent problem of driver fatigue in the trucking industry. Despite the obvious risks of driving without enough sleep or rest breaks, the trucking companies continue to encourage their drivers to work unreasonably and dangerously long hours.
Source: New York Times, "Caffeine May Boost Driver Safety" Nicholas Bakalar, Mar. 21, 2013