The information in this report is preliminary and will be supplemented or corrected during the course of the investigation.
Preliminary Report issued: June 18, 2014
On Saturday, June 7, 2014, about 12:54 a.m., eastern daylight time, a 2011 Peterbilt truck‑tractor and semitrailer combination vehicle operated by Wal-Mart Transportation (Wal‑Mart) was traveling north on the New Jersey Turnpike, near Cranbury, New Jersey, in the center lane of the three-lane northbound roadway. As the combination vehicle approached milepost 71.4, traffic had slowed due to construction work ahead on the turnpike. The Peterbilt combination vehicle struck the rear of a 2012 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter limo van, which was operated by Atlantic Transportation Services and occupied by a driver and six passengers. The two vehicles moved forward and were involved in secondary impacts with other vehicles that were slowed in the traffic queue. The limo van rolled over and came to rest on its left side, facing east, across the center and right lanes. As a result of the collision, one passenger in the Mercedes‑Benz limo van was fatally injured and four other van occupants were transported to the hospital with injuries of various severities. Six vehicles were involved in the impacts, but none of the other 16 people occupying these vehicles were transported to the hospital.
NTSB investigators obtained information concerning the construction project. Construction contractors were performing work on a large overhead sign about 2.7 miles north of the crash location. The right and center lanes of the New Jersey Turnpike were closed in the vicinity of this construction zone. About 0.9 mile south of the crash location, an advance warning sign notified northbound traffic of the lane closure ahead. About 0.4 mile south of the crash location, speed limit signs were posted that reduced the speed from 55 mph to 45 mph.
The Peterbilt truck-tractor was equipped with an electronically controlled Cummins ISX engine. The engine control module (ECM) could record vehicle speed, engine rpm, brake circuit status, throttle percentage, and other associated data in a sudden deceleration event. NTSB investigators imaged the ECM on June 11, 2014. A preliminary review of the data showed that the Peterbilt combination vehicle was traveling at 65 mph for the 60 seconds preceding the collision with the Mercedes-Benz limo van. NTSB investigators are correlating these data with the physical evidence.
The morning before the crash, the 35-year-old driver of the Peterbilt combination vehicle had arrived at a Wal-Mart facility in Smyrna, Delaware, and electronic driver log information showed that he went on duty at 11:22 a.m. on June 6, 2014. The log also showed that the driver made deliveries and pickups in New Jersey, Delaware, and Pennsylvania throughout the day. According to his log, about 12:20 a.m. on June 7, 2014, the driver left a Wal-Mart facility near Bristol, Pennsylvania, en route to a facility in Perth Amboy, New Jersey. The crash occurred about 30 miles after he left the Pennsylvania facility. According to electronic driver log information, the Peterbilt combination vehicle driver had logged 9 hours 37 minutes of driving time when the crash occurred. With respect to the maximum 14-hour consecutive duty period for commercial motor vehicle drivers, the driver had logged 13 hours 32 minutes at the time of the collision. NTSB investigators are comparing the log information with supporting documentation. Additionally, investigators are compiling and analyzing information to determine the activities of the Peterbilt combination vehicle driver and the amount of rest he received in the hours and days preceding the crash.
NTSB investigators documented the damage to the vehicles using 3D laser scanning technology.
Three-dimensional scans of the Peterbilt combination vehicle and the Mercedes Benz limo van are provided in figures 1 and 2 below.
Figure 1. Three-dimensional scan of the Peterbilt combination vehicle involved in the June 7, 2014, crash in Cranbury, New Jersey.
Figure 2. Three-dimensional scan of the Mercedes-Benz limo van involved in the June 7, 2014, crash in Cranbury, New Jersey.