Many truckers in Washington would admit that they need caffeine to stay awake sometimes, but they may not be aware of the dangers. A study conducted by a U.K. transportation safety expert and the Virginia Tech Transport Institute has tentatively linked high coffee consumption over the long term with an increased risk for crashes.
From a pool of 11,000 drivers in eight states, researchers focused on 3,007 who said they drink either one cup of coffee a day or more than five cups a day. Of the first group, 21.6% admitted that they were in a crash in the three years prior to the study while 27.8% of the high coffee drinkers said the same thing. This difference of 6% can possibly be explained by other factors, but there are some things to consider.
The high coffee drinkers also reported having poor overall health, failing to get good sleep, smoking and drinking more alcohol and eating unhealthily. These factors, especially the drowsiness that would inevitably result from poor sleep, can certainly raise the risk for a crash.
The study is unique in that it focuses on individual drivers’ drinking habits. Still, more research can and should be done. Researchers say that more consideration should be taken regarding drivers’ preferences for different caffeinated beverages, for example.
When truck accidents arise because of a trucker who was drowsy, inattentive or negligent in some other way, then victims may have a chance at seeking compensation for their injuries. Truck crashes can, after all, end in catastrophic injuries that leave some victims disabled for life. Before moving forward with a claim, though, victims may want a lawyer to evaluate the case and assist them, especially with the gathering of evidence and the negotiating of a settlement with the trucking company’s insurer.