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Can coffee help truckers avoid crashes?

On Behalf of | Jun 6, 2024 | Trucking Accidents |

Long-distance truck drivers often stop for a coffee along the way. Coffee has long been seen as a way to help you stay awake and alert, which is something truckers frequently struggle with. They work very long shifts and often get insufficient rest.

Driving while tired increases the risk of crashing, so it stands to reason that coffee, which contains caffeine – a stimulant- can help a tired driver avoid a crash.

Does coffee really help or is it a myth?

One research team decided to look into it. They looked at two groups of truck drivers – 1,653 with a low coffee consumption ( those who drank less than one cup per day) and 1,354 with a high coffee consumption (those who drank five cups or more per day).

Then they looked at how many crashes each driver said they had been in. The researchers concluded that the high consumers crashed more than the low consumers. Does this mean coffee can’t help you prevent a crash?

The doctor in charge of the study was quick to point out that there is nothing wrong with drinking coffee — and it may still help people stay alert in certain situations. However, drivers who regularly rely on it to get them through the day are a serious safety concern. She noted that the high-consumption group also tended to have worse overall health, poorer diet and an increased rate of smoking.

It can be hard to eat well, sleep well and stay healthy when driving a truck. No amount of coffee can compensate for the damage that a poor diet and lack of sleep can do to a person’s alertness and ability to drive safely. Drivers who think it can are putting themselves and others at risk and should expect to be held liable for compensation if they injure someone in a crash.