It may not seem unusual to have an extra cup of coffee or two when you are tired and know you are going to have a long day. You probably try not to make a habit of it, however, since you know that too much caffeine could do more harm than good.
However, not everyone has the luxury of catching up on sleep or cutting back on caffeine in a day or two when the need for long hours changes. Truck drivers often drive for several hours a day and may have trouble sleeping during their mandatory rest periods, especially now that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has loosened hours of service rules due to the urgent need for supplies across the country right now.
The correlation between caffeine and crashes
Using caffeine to stay awake in the short term may not have any long-term repercussions, but truck drivers who drink a significant amount of caffeine on a regular basis could have a problem driving safely. A recent study analyzed the caffeine habits of around 3,000 truck drivers across the United States. In the three years prior to the study, truck drivers who drank large amounts of caffeine, usually in the form of energy drinks or coffee, reported a 6% increase in crashes over those who did not do so.
The study indicated that a “large amount” of caffeine was at least five cups of coffee or more a day since that appeared to be the drink of choice for many of the truck drivers surveyed. The individuals who fell into this category also reported the following details when compared to those who did not drink large amounts of caffeine:
- Poorer diet
- Poorer sleep
- Greater alcohol consumption
- Smoking habits
- Lower overall health
It appears that there could be a correlation between overall health and caffeine consumption, which also correlates to truck accidents.
The pursuit of compensation after a truck accident
An over-caffeinated truck driver could put you and your family at risk for serious or deadly injuries. If that happens, you will most likely sustain significant financial losses due to medical and medical-related expenses, lost income, and more, depending on the circumstances. It may be possible for you to pursue compensation for those losses through the filing of a personal injury or wrongful death claim, as appropriate, in a Pennsylvania civil court.