For some, there is a truism in the phrase "I can't live without my coffee" - and perhaps for none more than Australia's truckies.
Now, a new study by The University of Sydney's George Institute suggests that caffeine can, in fact, improve the alertness levels of truck drivers.
Researchers at the university have found that drivers bolstering alertness with caffeine - including tea, coffee, tablets and energy drinks - could reduce the risk of a collision by up to 63 percent.
The study surveyed 530 Australian truck drivers involved in collisions between December 2008 and May 2011, measured against 517 drivers with no collisions against their record.
Participants were asked if they they had looked to caffeine options as a means of improving alertness at the wheel. Of the drivers surveyed, 43 percent noted the use of caffeine as a stimulant.
Interestingly, the study showed that drivers with no collision history were around two years older than those involved in a collision.
The record also showed that drivers not involved with collisions had logged more hours and greater distances travelled - but in a strange twist, had also reported fewer hours slept and greater difficulty staying awake at the wheel.
Alarmingly, drivers involved in a collision in the last five years were 81 percent more likely to be involved in another collision.
The paper's lead author Lisa Sharwood urged caution, reminding truck drivers that the findings “should be considered carefully in the context of a safe and healthy fatigue management strategy; energy drinks and coffee certainly don’t replace the need for sleep".
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