The effects of caffeine use on driving safety among truck drivers who are habitual caffeine users

Academic Article


  • The purpose of this study was to describe caffeine use among a group of habitual caffeine users, truck drivers, and to explore the associations between caffeine use and critical safety events by age in the naturalistic work setting. A secondary analysis of existing data from the Naturalistic Truck Driving Study was conducted. Analyses focused on the association between sleep and caffeine consumption by duty status, comparisons of sleep and caffeine use by age, and the associations between caffeine use and safety-critical events (SCEs). Findings indicated differences in caffeine use by duty status. However, no difference in sleep time by duty status, or between sleep time and caffeine use was found regardless of when the caffeine was consumed during the 5 hours prior to sleep. Sleep time did not vary significantly by age, although increasing age was associated with decreased caffeine use. Overall, a 6% reduction in the rate of SCEs per eight ounces of caffeinated beverage consumed was found. This study makes a unique scientific contribution because it uses realtime observations of truckers in the naturalistic work setting. It also does not involve caffeine withdrawal but rather an investigation of the effects of the naturalistic consumption of caffeine on sleep and driving performance. Findings suggest that caffeine use among habitual users offers a protective effect for safety-critical driving events. Occupational health nurses may use this information to counsel workers in the use of caffeine to enhance driving safety.
  • Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Heaton K; Griffn R
  • Start Page

  • 333
  • End Page

  • 341
  • Volume

  • 63
  • Issue

  • 8