Friday, March 22, 2013

Australia, Coffee, and Truck Drivers

I recently found an article that caught my attention.  It did so because the story came out of Australia. It is my opinion that any nation that produces kangaroos, koalas, and Crocodile Dundee deserves our attention. It also caught my attention because it was about truck drivers and coffee.

Driving trucks and drinking coffee are so intertwined that buried somewhere deep within the rules of the Teamster’s Union is a clause that all members of the Union must consume the beverage at least once a year. In the United States, these two things are so inextricably intertwined that it is impossible to drive a truck without consuming coffee. Take, for example, the story of Jimmy Hoffa. He walked into the office one day, grabbed a cup, and headed to the coffee pot. He then decided, for what reason, I do not know, that he was going to live life healthier and give up coffee. He announced this to his minions and immediately disappeared into a puff of smoke.

These researchers in Australia found 500 truck drivers who had an accident within a certain time period. Then they found another 500 drivers who hadn’t had an accident within the previous year. I didn’t realize there were so many truck drivers in Australia.

To summarize the findings, the drivers who didn’t get in accidents slept less, drove more, were older, and drank more coffee than the drivers who did get into accidents.

There is a lesson that can be drawn from this study for ordinary folk: if you are concerned about your aging parents or grandparents driving safely on long trips, keep them up all night and make sure they drink a pot of coffee before they leave. It must work; it is science, folks.

This leads us to the second article I found interesting this week. Apparently, 180,000 people world wide die every year from the effects of sugary drinks. The article indicates this number is staggering. I think the author confuses sugary drinks with alcoholic beverages. 180,000 people is roughly 0.025% of the worlds population. The article lists 133,000 deaths from diabetes, 44,000 deaths from heart disease, 6,000 deaths due to cancers, and 7 due to being trampled by oversized pitchers of red kool-aid.

The combined lessons from these two articles on living long lives are obvious, drink coffee without sugar and if you see large pitchers of kool-aid running towards you, get out of the way. Unless you are in a truck, then run them over. But that would be an accident.

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