Warning issued over high caffeine consumption for truck drivers

Truck drivers who consume large amounts of caffeine are more likely to have an accident, according to a study from the Virginia Tech Transport Institute in partnership with Loughborough University.

The study of more than 3,000 truck drivers found that high-caffeine consumers (those on five or more caffeinated drinks a day) felt sleepier and reported shorter amounts of sleep at night, and had poorer general health. They are also more prone to risky and aggressive driving and are involved in more crashes than their low-caffeine counterparts.

Researchers believe the link between caffeine and collisions could prove valuable, as the current advice in the Highway Code is for drivers who feel tired at the wheel to consume two caffeinated drinks and have a nap of at least 15 minutes.

But Dr Ashleigh Filtness of Loughborough University, who led the study, said it was important not to frighten people off drinking coffee if they are feeling tired at the wheel.

“There is plenty of evidence to show that caffeine is a good one-off countermeasure, but here we are looking at high use, a level more than the amount that 90% of the US population would consume,” said Filtness.

Truckers are particularly vulnerable to fatigue because of their shift work and long hours at the wheel, and sleepiness doubles the risk of being involved in a crash, said Filtness. Caffeine can have a positive impact on crash risk, but when consumed in high amounts over long periods could potentially impair sleep, and increase tiredness and safety risk, he stressed.

The study, published in the journal Safety Science, was conducted using truck drivers in the US states of Illinois, Ohio, Kentucky, New Jersey, Virginia, Georgia, Texas and California.

Filtness said the complex relation between caffeine and truckers was important as the group had a higher than average consumption rate, compared to the rest of the population.

Drivers: Tip-Ex and Tank-Ex 2020 needs you!

Head along to Tip-Ex and Tank-Ex on Saturday 30 May for this year’s exciting 'Driver Day' extravaganza!

Not only will there be a fantastic display of working tippers and tankers proudly taking centre stage in the town of Harrogate, but a whole host of fun activities for drivers and their families to take part in.

We’ll be inviting along truck racing legend Stuart Oliver to inspire visitors with adrenalin-packed stories from his track record.

You’ll also be able to get up close and personal with some of the latest racing models from the circuit

In addition, a family quiz to help visitors explore the show and head home with an exciting goody bag will be running throughout the day, as will the delicious Edbro Hog Roast, supplied by Andy Annatt BBQ’s.

Health, safety and training advice will also be on hand for those looking to improve their wellbeing behind the wheel.

And if that wasn’t enough to entice you, why not take the chance to pop over and meet the editors of your favourite road haulage publications: Commercial Motor, Transport News and Truck & Driver.

With four packed halls and vast outside displays of the latest trucks, trailers and essential fleet kit for your bulk haulage operation, this year’s Tip-Ex and Tank-Ex is a must-attend event for anyone working in the sector.

The show takes place at Harrogate Convention Centre from 28-30 May, with the driver-focused day on the Saturday. Make sure to register for your free place today!