The only thing more tragic than a fatal collision is a fiery fatal collision. And that is exactly the horrendous outcome that occurred for a man and his young daughter on Kissimmee Bay Blvd late one Thursday in September 2021. After swaying off of the road for unknown reasons, the vehicle smashed into a tree, exploding into flames within seconds. Both father and daughter were killed. Why do some vehicles burst into flames when they are involved in collisions? The truth is, there are a variety of reasons—and many are connected to vehicle defects.
Cause of Vehicle Fires
The top causes of vehicle fires—75 percent or more– are electrical issues or mechanical malfunctions, and older cars are much more susceptible to fires than new ones. When large trucks are fire-involved, it is most frequently related to tires. Over 200,000 vehicle fires were responsible for 560 fatalities and 1,500 injuries across the country in 2018. While these rates are down from previous years, they are nonetheless excruciatingly painful for those associated with the incidents.
- 80 percent of victims in these fires are male, and over 40 percent involved individuals below age 34.
- 14 percent of all fires, and 11 percent of all fire fatalities in this country are the result of vehicle fires.
- The majority of vehicle fires occur during the summer months.
- The most frequent time of day for fiery highway crashes is between 3:00 and 6:00 p.m.
- 75 percent of highway vehicle fires involve older vehicles.
- Crashes generally lead to malfunctions that result in fires.
- Nearly $2 billion of property damage occurs as a result of vehicle fires.
Which Items Ignite First?
Three percent of highway fatalities involve a vehicle fire. When all vehicles are considered—including busses and large trucks, the onset occurs with the cable insulation or electrical wires more than a quarter of the time. Flammable liquids, gas piping or filters are the second most common area of first ignition. In less than 10 percent of cases, multiple areas appear to ignite at once. Problems with faulty batteries and excess corrosion and engine failures can also result in vehicle fires.
Preventing Vehicle Fires
The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) provides some ideas as to how to mitigate vehicle fires:
- Maintain your vehicle properly, and attend to any leaks;
- Transport only small amounts of gasoline, and do so only if absolutely necessary in a well-ventilated vehicle—never in the passenger compartment;
- Follow safe driving protocols to avoid collisions.
Following a Vehicle Fire
What could be more frightening than a vehicle fire? If you or a loved one has suffered due to a mechanical or electrical malfunction that resulted in a vehicle fire, the experienced Kissimmee car accident attorneys at Salazar & Kelly Law Group, P.A. can help. Contact us today for a confidential consultation.