In an effort to come up with ways to prevent accidents caused by driver fatigue, the UniSA Sleep Research Centre, the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, and the Monash University Accident Research Centre conducted a study that focused on the effects of caffeine on drowsiness and driving performance.
Participants in the study were kept awake for 50 hours. During this time period, they were required to drive on 15 occasions in a simulated vehicle for about 40 minutes each time. Half of the group was given chewing gum that contained caffeine, and the other half received a placebo of the same gum but without caffeine. Gum was used as the caffeine source, as it only takes about 10 minutes for most of the dose to be absorbed by the brain and lasts for 90 minutes. Coffee, however, takes about 30 to 60 minutes to deliver the caffeine and the effects last for an unknown period of time.
Results were obtained by using a spectacle frame-mounted infra-red sensor that registered blinking velocity. Lane keeping and speed variation measurements were also used to determine the results.
What the Study Revealed
What may not surprise you is that researchers found a relationship between drowsiness and driver error in the placebo group. What may be interesting, however, is that they also found a much lower incidence of driver error in the caffeine group, even though the drivers were becoming increasingly drowsy. This means that caffeine has a positive effect on cognitive function, although it may not do too much in the way of decreasing drowsiness.
Did a Drowsy Driver Cause You to Suffer Injuries?
As the study showed, there’s not much one can do to prevent drowsy driving besides getting the appropriate amount of sleep. Unfortunately, a significant number of car crashes are caused by drivers who are too tired to get behind the wheel. If you suffered from injuries because of a drowsy driver, you may be entitled to receive financial compensation. The Steinberg Injury Lawyers may be able to help you receive help to cover medical bills, vehicle repairs, and time lost from work. Call 800-989-6385 for your free case evaluation.