Truck fires which occurred in connection with fatal traffic accidents in the U.S. during 1982 are examined in detail. Additional information has been derived from a Fatal Accident Reporting System (FARS) file covering the period 1975-1982. Fires are associated with tractor-trailers involved in fatal accidents in more than 5% of the cases, compared with about 2.5% for passenger cars. Large straight trucks exhibit a fire incidence in fatal accidents on the order of 4%. About half of the truck fires involve burning of the truck fuel, which follows from rupture or leakage associated with severe crashes. In the long-term data a correlation is observed between the incidence of truck fires and factors relating to ambient temperature. Cause of fatal injury to truck occupants was attributed to the fire (smoke or burns) alone in 20 out of 214 burned vehicles. In another 53 cases, fire was reported as a contributing factor to an occupant fatality; in these latter cases it was generally not possible to determine from the available data whether the truck occupant would have died from traumatic injuries alone. This is the final report which also contains appendices A-F.

  • Supplemental Notes:
    • See also UMTRI-85-17-2, An In-Depth Study of Truck Fire Accident Data - Appendix G - Dictionary/Codebook for the Accident File.
  • Corporate Authors:

    University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute

    2901 Baxter Road
    Ann Arbor, MI  United States  48109-2150

    Transportation Systems Center

    55 Broadway, Kendall Square
    Cambridge, MA  United States  02142
  • Authors:
    • O'Day, J
    • Gonzales, T
  • Publication Date: 1985-4

Media Info

  • Features: Appendices; Figures; Tables;
  • Pagination: 95 p.

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00495559
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
  • Report/Paper Numbers: UMTRI-85-17-1, HS-039 432
  • Contract Numbers: DTRS-83-C-00055
  • Files: HSL, TRIS, USDOT
  • Created Date: Jul 31 1990 12:00AM