In Illinois and across the United States, it seems as if the one constant on the roadways is large trucks. These vehicles can be integral in myriad ways whether they are delivering food, supplies and critical materials necessary for everyday life. They become even more important during emergencies. Many drivers will use stimulants to stay awake and alert. Some, like prescription drugs, can be dangerous and illegal. Others are legal but create surprising risks. This is evident in recent research about the link between caffeine and truck crashes.
A newly-released study shows that truckers who consume significant amounts of caffeinated drinks are more prone to collisions. The hours-of-service rules were recently relaxed for drivers delivering essential items. Since those rules were in place to prevent truckers from going beyond safe durations for consecutive hours on the road, this change might lead to them using coffee and caffeinated drinks to push the limits. The study says that this is acceptable for a short duration. Doing it for a longer period may be dangerous.
More than 3,000 truckers from eight states were assessed. It found that nearly 28% of drivers who drank at least five cups of coffee per day had a truck accident in the previous three years. That is compared to 21.6% in that same time frame for those who had one cup a day. In addition, the heavy caffeine users had worse diets, sleep poorly, consumed more alcohol, smoked and had worse health in general. Although there are inevitably other factors that contribute to the perception that drivers who drink more coffee are at higher risk for a truck crash, it is a potential issue that should be considered.
With drivers allowed to stay on the road beyond usual limits required by law, people sharing the road with large trucks have more to think about beyond distracted trucking, truckers under the influence of drugs, speeding and recklessness. Drowsy trucking is a fear and this study shows that over-caffeinated truckers is also worrisome. Truck accidents can be worse than accidents involving passenger vehicles. Their size and the speeds at which they travel can cause serious injuries and fatalities.
People who were hurt may face medical costs, lost income and long-term problems impacting them and their loved ones personally and financially. A fatality will exacerbate these concerns. A legal filing might be needed to recover compensation. Investigating the case to determine how it happened and what could have caused it can be vital for a claim. A law firm with experienced in trucking accidents may help.