National Transportation Safety Board has determined that the probable cause of
the accident near Cranbury, New Jersey, involving a truck, a limo van, and four
other vehicles, was the truck driver’s fatigue, which resulted in his delayed
braking to avoid traffic that was slowing and stopped for an active work zone.
Also causal to the accident was the driver’s operation of the truck at a speed
in excess of the posted limit for the work zone area. Contributing to the
severity of the injuries was the fact that the passengers in the passenger
compartment of the limo van were not using available seat belts and properly
adjusted head restraints.
June 7, 2014, a 2011 Peterbilt truck-tractor with semitrailer, operated by
Walmart Transportation LLC struck a slowly moving 2012 Mercedes-Benz limo van,
the first of several collisions that ultimately involved 21 people and six
vehicles. One of the five passengers in the limo van’s passenger compartment
was killed and four others were seriously injured. The two front seat limo van
occupants and three people in other vehicles sustained minor injuries.
day before the crash, the truck driver made an 800-mile overnight drive from
his home in Georgia to his workplace in Delaware, and then reported for duty
without obtaining any sleep, which substantially contributed to his fatigue.
rules cannot address what drivers do on their own time,” said NTSB Chairman
Christopher A. Hart. “This driver had been on duty 13 ½ hours of a 14-hour
workday, but had been awake more than 28 hours at the time of the crash.
Fatigue management programs can help.”
the time of the accident, Walmart addressed fatigue as a part of its driver
training, but it did not have a structured fatigue management program in place
that could have improved its ability to better monitor its drivers and educate
them about the risks of fatigue.
NTSB reiterated a 2010 recommendation to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety
Administration (FMCSA) to make fatigue management programs mandatory for all
its credit, Walmart has taken steps to bolster its driver fatigue education and
policies since this crash,” Chairman Hart said. “Today we recommended that
Walmart implement a fatigue management program.”
trucks are involved in nearly one in eight fatal crashes. In work zones, such
as the one in which this crash occurred, one in four fatal crashes involves a
heavy truck. The truck driver traveled 0.9 miles past the first work zone sign
and more than 0.4 miles past the 45 mph speed limit sign without slowing his
speed from 65 mph. The truck was traveling at 65 mph until it reached a closing
distance of approximately 200 feet before the impact. If the truck had been
traveling at the posted work zone speed of 45 mph, the NTSB concluded, it could
have been stopped before impact.
NTSB also found that the serious injuries to the occupants seated in the
passenger compartment of the limo van were due in part to their failure to use
available seat belts and properly adjusted head restraints. The NTSB reiterated
a recommendation to the FMCSA to require operators to give pretrip safety
briefings to passengers concerning the importance of safety equipment and how
to exit the vehicle in an emergency.
limousine operations involve vehicles that have been modified after purchase
with customized seating compartments. In this accident, the limo van’s only
exit door for the passenger compartment was damaged and became inoperable
during the accident, delaying first responders. The NTSB is recommending that
modifications to these types of vehicles provide for a second means of egress.
a result of the investigation, the NTSB issued new safety recommendations to
the Federal Highway Administration, the National Highway Traffic Safety
Administration, the New Jersey Department of Health, the New Jersey State First
Aid Council, the National Limousine Association, Walmart Transportation LLC,
Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems LLC, Detroit Diesel Corporation, and Meritor
WABCO Vehicle Control Systems. The recommendations address issues including
requiring driver fatigue management programs, improving work zone safety,
recording data from in-vehicle collision warning and avoidance systems,
increasing seat belt and proper head restraint use in passenger vehicles, and
creating a standard for emergency medical system training and practices for
emergency responders on the New Jersey Turnpike, where the crash occurred.
To view the findings, probable cause, and all recommendations, click on
the following link: http://www.ntsb.gov/news/events/Documents/2015_Cranbury_BMG_Abstract.pdf
The full report will be available on the NTSB website in several weeks.