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Federal hours of service regulations were put into place to protect road users in Colorado and around the country from dangerously fatigued truck drivers. These regulations limit the amount of time that truck drivers can spend on the road each day and mandate lengthy periods of rest between their shifts, but the results of a study conducted by a British researcher suggest that taking a more comprehensive and holistic approach to truck driver health could do just as much to improve road safety.

Coffee consumption linked to higher accident rates

The Loughborough University lecturer studied health records and questionnaire responses from about 11,000 truck drivers in eight U.S. states. He then used this data to identify 3,007 drivers who could be categorized as either high or low caffeine users. Drivers who consumed five or more caffeinated drinks each day were considered high caffeine users. When the researcher looked at the accident rates of these two groups, he discovered that the high caffeine users were more likely to have been involved in an accident during the previous three years. The study, which was conducted in cooperation with the Virginia Tech Transport Institute, is scheduled to be published in the journal Safety Science in June.

High caffeine use a reliable indicator of poor health

The researcher does not suggest implementing regulations that would limit the amount of caffeine that truck drivers can consume each day, but he does say that high caffeine intake is a reliable indicator of overall poor health. When he looked at the health records of truck drivers who consumed high levels of caffeine, he found that they were far more likely to smoke, drink and suffer from medical conditions like insomnia, diabetes and obesity. All of these are considered high risk factors for truck accidents.

Establishing negligence in truck accident lawsuits

There are several ways that evidence can be gathered in a truck accident lawsuit. The police report may reveal that the truck involved was being driven recklessly when it crashed, and an inspection could reveal signs of neglected maintenance or substandard repairs. The hours of service logs may also be studied to find out if truck driver was fatigued. If you have been harmed in a commercial vehicle accident, an experienced personal injury attorney could use this kind of evidence to establish negligence and pursue compensation on your behalf.