Is Caffeine Making Your Drive Unsafe?

Contrary to popular opinion, safe driving is a shared responsibility – a value shared by all team members, from the man behind the wheel to the one behind the desk. Driver safety is a critical part of the Hours-of-Service rules enforced by the FMCSA for all fleet drivers.

Though drivers tend to take it lightly, the consequences of sleep deprivation can be deadly. In fact, drowsy driving is more deadly than texting while driving, distracted driving, and drunk driving combined, causing more than 100,000 police-reported crashes every year. Falling asleep at the wheel happens involuntarily, plunging the driver into unconscious in the span of a split second. Drivers can then drift between lanes, suffer from reduced reaction times, and cause devastating accidents.

Drivers suffering from sagging eyelids can open the window, change position, drink coffee, or take a break to stretch out sleepy muscles. In fact, the National Sleep Foundation recommends a 10 minute break for every 2 hours of driving, although there is no real substitute for quality shut-eye.

While it is no substitute for quality rest, caffeine can provide a short-term solution to drowsiness. However, in order to experience the benefits, drivers must consume approximately two cups of coffee or five cans of soda, and wait 20-30 minutes to feel the full stimulant effect.

Driver safety should be integrated into company culture and fleet managers can use a few simple tips to help drive this agenda. Thorough pre-hire screening, driver training, regular vehicle maintenance, established driving policy, and a reward and penalty system all serve to bring safe driving standards to every member of the fleet. At BSM we apply these standards in every part of our end-to-end HOS solution to ensure driver safety for a fleet consisting of trucks, railcars and service vehicles.

By implementing simple precautions by drivers and fleet managers combined, we can work to ensure driver safety and road safety, while severely reducing operations costs and avoiding accident claims.