Last Updated on August 19, 2021 by kristina

Researchers in Australia claim that although caffeine ‘only marginally reduces drowsiness in drivers,’ it significantly reduces driver errors. So said researchers who conducted a study on fatigue, which was presented recently at the Australian Psychological Society Conference.

Australia’s Chief Defence Scientist, Dr Alex Zelinsky, said the study formed part of extensive research into ways of reducing fatigue in both individuals and teams, particularly in vehicles operated by the Australian Army. The study examined the effects of caffeine on drowsiness and driving performance on people who were sleep deprived. The study was undertaken in partnership with UniSA Sleep Research Centre, Walter Reed Army Institute of Research (US) and Monash University Accident Research Centre.

Defence Science and Technology Group Senior Cognitive Scientist, psychologist Dr Eugene Aidman, said the research aimed to examine the efficacy of caffeine as a countermeasure against cognitive fatigue – a type of fatigue that’s critical to operator tasks. Fellow researcher Kayla Johnson, said: “In real life you often don’t have the luxury of stopping when you’re tired, so you need some compensatory strategies to combat cognitive fatigue, and when you’re driving this is particularly important because of road safety.”

Dr Aidman said caffeinated gum was used to administer the caffeine as it takes only 10 minutes for most of the dose to be absorbed by the brain and lasts for 90 minutes, whereas drinking coffee takes 30-90 minutes to be absorbed for an unpredictable amount of time. “Although the findings are relevant to the military, they have significant implications for civilian applications such as emergency services and long-haul transport,” Dr Zelinsky said.

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