Crashes more likely among truckers who drink a lot of coffee

Truckers in Ohio should be aware that the very beverages that help keep them awake on the road may be doing them harm in the long term and, in fact, raising their risk for an accident. This is according to a new study, the results of which were published in the journal Safety Science. A U.K. researcher, in partnership with the Virginia Tech Transport Institute, analyzed the behaviors of 3,000 truck drivers and discovered the following.

The drivers were selected because they fell under one of two categories: low coffee drinkers with one cup a day or high coffee drinkers with more than five cups per day. Of the first group, 21.6% admitted in a questionnaire that they were in a crash in the past three years while 27.8% of the second group answered the same. While there is no proof of causation, the link between coffee consumption levels and the higher crash rate does warrant further study.

The link seems stronger when one considers how the high coffee drinkers reported poorer health overall. They tended to smoke, drink more alcohol, eat unhealthy foods and obtain less than restful sleep.

The study is unique in how it analyzes truckers’ actual behaviors with the influence of caffeine. Previous studies have only undertaken laboratory tests to determine the effect of caffeine on drivers.

One thing is clear: Truckers are prone to drive drowsy, which is an act of negligence. Whenever this is a factor in truck crashes, it may provide the basis for a personal injury claim. Victims of negligence are entitled to compensation for their medical bills, the income lost during their physical recovery and so on, but to file a claim and negotiate for a settlement covering these losses is another matter. Legal representation may be helpful.