Junk Food May Increase Truckers’ Risk of Dangerous Driving

Junk Food May Increase Truckers' Risk of Dangerous Driving

According to research published in the journal Occupational & Environmental Medicine , junk food would not only be bad for the health of a driver, but for the health of all: your driving would be more prone to traffic accidents basically due to the fatigue

Some 1.35 million people are killed each year in traffic collisions, and professional drivers are at greater risk due to the time they spend behind the wheel.

Factors that increase the probability of an accident

In addition to all the already known factors, now we have to add others, such as lifestyle, especially since long-distance driving often involves sleep deprivation, unhealthy eating habits and limited physical activity.

To test it, the researchers evaluated whether dietary patterns, fatigue and driving behavior might be related in a sample of 389 male truck drivers from a transportation company in Suzhou , China.

Most of the drivers were between 31 and 60 years old, with 6 to 10 years of experience behind them and an annual count of between 50,000 and 100,000 km on the road . Each driver was asked to specify how much and how often they ate any of the 25 foods during the previous 12 months on a Food Frequency Questionnaire. They also completed a test that assesses physical and mental fatigue on a 5-point scale, as well as two validated questionnaires on driving behaviors and attitudes towards other drivers on the road.

Dietary patterns were classified as:

  • Rich in vegetables.
  • Staple foods (high carbohydrate intake, unrefined grains, dairy products, and eggs.
  • Animal proteins (fish and poultry).
  • Sandwiches (fried foods, desserts, and sugary drinks).

Plant-rich, staple food diets were strongly associated with safe driving behaviors.

The animal protein diet was strongly associated with higher rates of errors, concentration failures, and minor traffic offenses, while the snack diet was strongly associated with unsafe driving behaviors . The latter dietary pattern is associated with erratic meal times and altered metabolism, which could affect many tasks that require vigilance, alertness, and concentration.