Truck drivers in Louisiana may drink coffee to stay awake, but one study argues that the long-term effect of excessive coffee drinking is possibly harmful. A U.K. transport safety lecturer, in partnership with the Virginia Tech Transport Institute, conducted a study involving a little over 3,000 truck drivers from eight different states. These drivers reported that they drink either one cup of coffee a day or more than five.

It was when the truckers were asked if they had been in a crash in the prior three years that some interesting results came up. While 21.6% of the low coffee consumers said yes, the second group had 27.8% who said yes. This 6% difference may not be directly caused by coffee consumption, but the link seems more than probable.

Another important link was that the high coffee drinkers suffered from overall poorer health than the other group. Many admitted that they do not eat healthily or get restful sleep. They also tended to smoke and drink more alcohol. These can certainly affect a driver’s performance behind the wheel.

This study was unique in that it studied drivers’ actual coffee-drinking behaviors rather than limiting itself to laboratory tests. Further research, though, will need to focus on variables like differences in consumption levels between working days and days off.

Many trucking accidents may be the indirect result of excessive coffee drinking. What’s important for personal injury plaintiffs, though, is to prove just what the trucker did immediately before the crash that was negligent. Victims who can present a strong case against the other side may be able to recover a fair amount in damages, but they might need a lawyer to help them obtain evidence and negotiate. A lawyer could do this and much more, even taking the case to court.