If you’ve ever watched trucker movies of the 1970s like “Convoy” and “Breaker! Breaker!”, you might think of trucking as a job filled with adventure, romantic outlaws and the freedom of the open road. The truth is, over-the-road trucking is a rough, demanding job that requires long hours on a regular basis and sometimes driving through the night for pay that isn’t always great.
It’s pretty much taken for granted that truckers at least guzzle caffeine as a basic requirement of the job, if not turning to harder stimulants. But if you’ve ever pulled an all-nighter, you’ll know that there’s a big difference between being awake and being alert. While coffee might keep your eyes open and your basic motor skills functioning, does it really keep attention and focus at safe levels when you’re otherwise tired?
We Got A Caffeinated Convoy, Rockin’ Through The Night
An interesting new study set out to prove or disprove just that, using long-haul truckers who habitually rely on caffeine to get them through.
The study reviewed statistics from the Naturalistic Truck Driving Study, a periodic real-time field study under natural driving conditions that is conducted by the Transportation Research Board to get a better handle on what causes crashes to occur. The study pored over the most recently collected data, connecting information on sleep and caffeine consumption and comparing it by age and duty status along with the frequency of drivers to be involved in safety-critical events (in other words, crashes).
Caffeine use and sleep time didn’t really vary all that much across all the categories, with caffeine use alone decreasing slightly with driver age. But the one very interesting statistic that came out of this research was an overall 6% reduction in safety-critical events for each 8 oz. of caffeinated beverage consumed by drivers. Given these numbers, your average Super Big Gulp of coffee should reduce the chance of an accident by 40%! Sounds like a great marketing opportunity for 7-Eleven.
Of course, individual tolerance to caffeine has to be factored in, and there isn’t really a good way for a study of this nature to measure that variable. But even allowing for that, the numbers linking caffeine consumption with safety are overwhelming since the participants all self-identified as being regular users of at least some amount of caffeine.
At least based on this study, it’s definitely safe to say that caffeine keeps you both awake and sufficiently alert to handle your job even when you’re pushing through on less sleep than you’d like.
Is It Just Coffee In That Mug?
And now for the Negative Nancy portion of the post.
This study had no real control for truckers using substances other than coffee, aside from trusting them to self-report honestly. A 2013 study that surveyed drivers in 36 different countries found that illegal stimulant use is pretty much rampant with truckers.
The use of harder (and illegal) stims tended to correlate with countries with larger land masses and poorer working conditions for drivers, with the rest time between runs being a major influence. Brazil was near the top of both of those categories, and not surprisingly it was the country that had the most reported amphetamine use among drivers at a whopping 70 percent.
While this doesn’t mean American truckers are necessarily hopped up on illegal crank in great numbers, there are possibly other stimulants in play here confounding the data — particularly ephedra, which is still technically legal and was reported to be used just about as often as caffeine.
Legal Stims Come Out Looking Good
Setting aside the potentially illegal and dangerous stuff, this does indicate that stims in general really help enhance alertness and job performance. Just remember that famous childhood advice — Winners Don’t Use Drugs!
Instead, we have a caffeine-powered option for focus that isn’t full of illegal or questionable stimulants:
Pyroxamine Gets You Through Your Work Day
While the focus of Myokem’s Pyroxamine is superior fat burning, the potent stim combo helps you to get through both those difficult work days and those tough gym sessions. Caffeine Anhydrous, Theobromine, Pikatropin, N-Methyl-Tyramine, Huperzia Serrata and Bacopa Monniera Extract work in tandem and in synergy to deliver the most potent focus, energy and concentration you can get without crossing over into jitters and anxiety.