Figures released this week by Zenith International show that Red Bull is not only the UK's third biggest soft drink by value but an independent university study claims Red Bull could also save lives on the roads.

Sales of Red Bull reached a total of 260m units in the UK last year and the Energy Drinks and Sports Drinks Report by Zenith International estimated that Red Bull's total sales last year were close to £430m (even though 59% of UK pubs and clubs still do not list Red Bull).

Managing director of Red Bull, Harry Drnec said: "Once again the Zenith report reveals that energy drinks are here to stay and the fact that a functional energy drink like Red Bull is now the number three soft drink brand firmly establishes that fact."

"Not only does the report show the success of the brand in driving this sector, but it draws attention to the effectiveness of the product, by highlighting the recent study by Loughborough University, which illustrates the effectiveness of Red Bull on sleepy drivers," he added.

Specialists at The Sleep Research Centre of Loughborough University wanted to tackle the killer problem of driver weariness, which is thought to cause at least 10% of all road accidents and one in five accidents on motorways and trunk roads.

Research carried out by the university found that the consumption of one can of Red Bull significantly reduced sleep related incidents and subjective sleepiness for the first 60-90 minutes of driving.

The report also claims that: "Two cans of Red Bull practically eliminated sleep related incidents and subjective feelings of sleepiness for the first 90 minutes of driving. The number of driving incidents was substantially reduced for the remainder of the drive."