Last week, we wrote that distracted driving isn’t just limited to activities involving your cellphone. Anything that takes your eyes off the road, your hands off the wheel or your attention off of driving can be a dangerous distraction.

Most of us are so busy that we sometimes end up eating meals in the car during our commute. But a recent California truck accident shows that this can be dangerous and sometimes even deadly. Late last month, a big-rig driver passed out after choking on his lunch and caused a head-on collision that killed two people.

According to the California Highway Patrol, the accident occurred on eastbound I-80 near Davis. When the choking driver lost consciousness, his truck first swerved to the right and hit the guardrail. It then veered back to the left, striking two cars on the way toward the center divider guardrail. The drivers of those two vehicles suffered injuries.

Finally, the big-rig crashed through the center guardrail and collided head-on with a BMW traveling westbound. Both occupants in the BMW were killed.

Shortly after the crash, the truck driver’s airway cleared and he regained consciousness. As is often the case in fatal truck accidents, he suffered only minor injuries.

While incidents like this one are rare, they do happen and the results are devastating. Hopefully, this serves as a cautionary tale that when you’re behind the wheel, the only thing you should be doing is driving. It only takes a momentary lapse in concentration or a preventable physical emergency (like choking) to set in motion a fatal chain of events.

Source: San Francisco Chronicle, “Trucker chokes, causes fatal I-80 crash,” Will Kane, Mar. 28, 2013