We normally don't like to pick on truck drivers. After all, professional
drivers aren't exclusively responsible for wrecks. Drivers of cars
cause their fair share of
truck accidents. In fact, drivers of all stripes can be negligent behind the wheel. But,
given that being a professional truck driver means long hours behind the
wheel, it makes sense to be as safe as possible when getting from point
A to point B.
After all, an accident involving an 80,000-pound truck isn't likely
to be insubstantial.
A new study out of Australia, as reported by Nicholas Bakalar with the
New York Times, indicates that caffeinated truckers are 63 percent less
likely to get into a crash.
Bakalar quotes the lead author of the study:
"Clearly drivers are using caffeinated substances to help them stay
awake. While this may be useful for a period of time, it should really
be seen as part of drivers' overall fatigue and health management
in quite a dangerous industry. It isn't sustainable to go without
sleep. But caffeine is useful as part of a wider strategy."
This study comes at an interesting time regarding the hours-of-service
rules, which are meant to enforce periods of rest for truckers, so that
they don't fall asleep behind the wheel. The Federal Motor Carrier
Safety Administration recently made the rules a bit stricter in an effort
to improve safety, but the trucking industry opposes these changes, citing
burden and expense.
Caffeine May Boost Driver Safety