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April 02, 2013
Caffeine shown to reduce crash risk for truck drivers

Long-distance commercial drivers who consume caffeinated drinks are significantly less likely to crash than those who do not, according to an Australian study. Long-distance drivers routinely experience monotonous, extended driving periods that are linked with drowsiness, which increases the chance of crashing.

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Study participants included about 500 drivers who had crashed while on a trip and a control group of about the same number who had not had a crash in the previous 12 months. Forty-three percent of drivers reported consuming caffeinated beverages or tablets to stay awake. The study author, Lisa Sharwood of the University of Sydney, said those who consumed caffeine were 63 percent less likely to crash than those who did not.

The researchers point out that the benefit of caffeine is limited to a short period. They recommend regular breaks, napping, and appropriate work schedules to combat driver sleepiness.

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