Most people in Texas know that drowsiness raises the risk for a car crash, but excessively consuming caffeine in the effort to fight that drowsiness can be bad as well. This was the tentative conclusion of a study, the results of which were published in the journal Safety Science.
A transport safety lecturer, together with the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, analyzed the behaviors of 3,007 truck drivers from eight different states. These subjects were chosen because they represented the two extremes of caffeine consumption. The first group reporting consuming only one cup, glass or pill of coffee or another caffeinated beverage every day while the second group consumed at least five.
The participants answered a questionnaire with the assurance that their responses would be kept confidential. Asked if they were in a crash in the past three years, 21.6% of the first group and 27.8% of the second said yes. This increase among the high caffeine consumers is noteworthy, though a cause and effect relationship cannot necessarily be established.
Another important finding is that the high caffeine consumers had poorer health overall. They tended to sleep less, have an unhealthy diet, smoke and drink excessively. This can make an accident more likely. Further research will be necessary to analyze the variables, such as differing caffeine consumption levels on work days and days off.
Truck drivers can cause motor vehicle collisions because of drowsiness, intoxication, speeding or another form of negligence. Innocent victims have a right to be compensated for their injuries, the income they lost during their recovery and the pain and suffering they underwent. In Texas, victims can recover damages as long as their degree of fault is less than the defendant’s. Filing a claim can be hard alone, so victims may want to retain a lawyer.