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Benefits of Driving and Drinking Caffeinated Beverages

Studies show that drivers of commercial trucks and motor vehicles who drink caffeine are less likely to cause a collision due to truck driver fatigue, a common problem on America's roads and highways. Truckers are often required to drive for extended periods of time and sometimes overnight, which can increase the risk of falling asleep at the wheel. This conclusion was drawn by Australian researchers after evaluating data on 530 different truck drivers who were recently involved in crashes.

These 530 truckers were then compared with 517 other truckers who had a clean driving record within the prior year. All truck drivers that were compared and evaluated against each other were drivers of either one, two or three trailer tractors. A variety of factors were taken into consideration when conducting this study, factors such as the driver's age, their lifestyle, health, etc. One common denominator among the driver's with no accidents in the past month was that they were regular caffeine drinkers.

These researchers came to the conclusion that truckers who consume caffeine are 63 percent less likely to be involved in a collision. Caffeinated drinks are not the sole answer to roadway safety, but it is an interesting finding. One researcher stated, "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 a quite dangerous industry. It isn't sustainable to go without sleep. But caffeine is useful as part of a wider strategy."

Sections of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (CFR 49) lay out the standards for truck driver safety and all the regulations for commercial motor vehicle operation. The FMCSA's regulations cover everything from required truck maintenance to licensing requirements. To help combat truck driver fatigue cases, the FMCSA imposed updated regulations on Hours of Service (HOS). It decreased the amount of time which drivers can operate their vehicles before they have to take a resting break. Before the HOS amendments, truckers could work up to 82 hours a week (7 consecutive days). New regulations only allow for 70 hours within a 7 day workweek.

According to a press release from the FMCSA,

In addition, truck drivers cannot drive after working eight hours without first taking a break of at least 30 minutes. Drivers can take the 30-minute break whenever they need rest during the eight-hour window. The final rule retains the current 11-hour daily driving limit.
FMCSA will continue to conduct data analysis and research to further examine any risks associated with the 11 hours of driving time. The rule requires truck drivers who maximize their weekly work hours to take at least two nights' rest when their 24-hour body clock demands sleep the most - from 1:00 a.m. to 5:00 a.m.
This rest requirement is part of the rule's "34-hour restart" provision that allows drivers to restart the clock on their work week by taking at least 34 consecutive hours off-duty. The final rule allows drivers to use the restart provision only once during a seven-day period.
Categories: Truck Accidents


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