Road Safety Expert: Energy drinks negatively affect the ability to drive

According to Mr. Tonny Dickson Afriford, Executive Director of the Global Road Safety Media Foundation, drinking energy drinks while driving can impair a driver’s sense of judgment and ability to operate a motor vehicle.

Therefore, he advised drivers to avoid consuming energy drinks, especially those who are planning long-distance trips, since it can impair their driving skills and increase the likelihood of traffic accidents.

He gave the caution during the analysis of January to June provisional road crash data from the National Road Safety Commission Authority (NRSA) at the Ghana News Agency Tema Regional Office, and Motor Transport and Traffic Department (MTTD) Road Safety Campaign Platform, which was monitored by the Communication for Development and Advocacy Consult (CDA Consult) in Tema.

The road safety campaign platform seeks to use prominent persons to provide continuous education on the need to be safe on the roads and reduce road carnage. Mr. Afriford, who is also a road crash analyst said “large and consistent consumption of energy drinks is having an effect on road safety, there is the wrong notion among the commercial drivers that these energy drinks boost their system to drive for long hours without getting tired.

“We need to find out where they got their knowledge from because some people who have overused energy drinks have advanced to using other drugs like tramadol with drinks, inhaling gasoline, or super glue to stay awake and drive.”

He urged the Ghana Medical Association (GMA) to work with the NRSA and other stakeholders to educate drivers, particularly commercial long-distance truckers, about the effects of ingesting caffeinated drinks while driving.

Additionally, Mr. Afriford warned vehicle owners against setting unrealistic sales goals for their drivers because some used them as an excuse to drive while fatigued. He added that research on traffic accidents had revealed that driver fatigue was one of the primary contributing factors to accidents.

He added that under pressure from their employers, drivers would speed and engage in other dangerous driving, which would not only increase the number of collisions but also have financial repercussions for the driver, the owner of the car, and the nation.

Every driver should take a break for at least 30 minutes every four hours, he said, adding that after consuming such energy drinks with caffeine, some drivers gain the mistaken confidence to drive for extended periods of time without stopping.

According to a preliminary assessment by the NRSA for the period of January to June 2022, fewer reported road crashes occurred in Ghana than in 2021.

According to the data, the NRSA recorded 7,687 cases overall during the first quarter of 2022 as opposed to 8,188 cases during the same time period in 2021.

The data also shows that the NRSA observed a reduction of 401, or 6.12 percent.

According to the Authority, a total of 13,248 vehicles were involved in the collisions in 2022, which resulted in 1,300 fatalities, down from 13,973 vehicles and 1,454 fatalities in 2021.

The data also showed a 2.33 percent decrease in the number of injuries, with a total of 7,997 and 8,188 injuries recorded in the first halves of 2022 and 2021, respectively.

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