The St. Cloud area has long been a crossroads for the trucking industry, so those who live here see more than their fair share of semi-trucks. This can frustrate drivers running late when stuck behind a truck or convoy. Unfortunately, these encounters with semis can also turn deadly to others if the truck driver makes one wrong decision.
There is now a study in Safety Science that examined the connection between caffeine consumption (especially coffee) by truck drivers and the rate of crashes they cause. Rather than detail the effect coffee has on the body, the study examined the coffee-drinking behavior of more than 3,000 truckers from eight states.
Caffeine consumption a sign of overall health
Anyone who drinks coffee knows that there is a short-term lift that can keep people focused or awake when they are short on sleep. This study focused on drivers who reported either drinking one or five cups of coffee per day. Researchers found that the five-cup drinkers also reported worse health overall due to lack of sleep, bad diet, smoking, and a higher rate of alcohol consumption.
Those bad habits obviously directly impact the driver. But the study also noted that the five-cup drinkers were in a higher number of crashes:
- 21.6% of one-cup drinkers were in a crash in the last three years before the study
- 27.8% of five-cup drinkers were in a crash in the last three years before the study
There is certainly a parallel between higher consumption and accidents, but the study also points out that it did not cite the cause and effect coffee has on the driver-caused crashes. It also did not factor such variables as consumption habits at work versus days off.
The danger is real
One need only to refuel at a truck stop to see the amount and variety of coffee these businesses sell to truckers. It is a powerful reminder that an unhealthy lifestyle can greatly influence one’s ability to do their job. In the case of a trucker, however, inability can lead to serious injuries or even death to victims in other vehicles.
The injured or their family may need to hold the trucker and their employer accountable for this negligence. A personal injury attorney can be a tremendous help in cases such as these, helping victims get compensation for time away from work (or potential earnings lost if they cannot return to work), injuries and property damage. They provide this service for no expense to the victims or their families.