Truckers in Illinois and across the U.S. follow what are called hours-of-service regulations. With these temporarily suspended, many are working longer hours than normal and trying to stay awake with coffee and other caffeinated beverages: something that may ultimately backfire on them.
You may be wondering what the likelihood is of getting in an accident where the truck driver is at fault. Perhaps you were involved in such an accident. Whatever the situation, you may learn something from a recent study, the results of which were published in Safety Science, on the coffee-drinking habits of truck drivers.
More crashes among high coffee drinkers
A U.K. transport safety expert, together with the Virginia Tech Transport Institute, analyzed 3,007 truck drivers from eight states (including Illinois). These drivers were chosen because they fit into one of two groups under study: those who drink a single cup of coffee a day, and those who consume more than five.
Everyone was given a questionnaire to fill out with the assurance that employers would not see the responses. Asked whether they were in a crash in the previous three years, 21.6% of the low coffee drinkers and 27.8% of the high coffee drinkers answered in the affirmative.
More coffee, poorer overall health
The high coffee drinkers reported poorer health, too. They would not obtain adequate sleep or eat healthy, and many would smoke or drink more alcohol than was right. These can certainly affect driving; all the same, researchers cannot go beyond suggesting a link between high coffee consumption and increased crash risk.
Future studies may make the cause-effect relationship, if one exists, clear. Researchers say many variables need to be taken into account. Coffee was not the only beverage truckers consumed, after all, and different products contain different amounts of caffeine.
Personal attention on your case
It can be hard for victims of motor vehicle accidents to file a claim on their own. The insurance companies may deny payment or force them into a lower settlement than they deserve. You may do well, then, to seek legal advice and guidance.