Impact-induced car fires still attract much attention, in spite of a reduction in the rate of their occurrence in recent years. This investigation addresses several issues concerning car fire rates as a function of model year and calendar year, and the sensitivity of these rates to car impact type, impact severity, and car size. Car fuel leak occurence rates are examined in parallel. The resolution of these issues is based on a comprehensive examination of the voluminous car accident records compiled for research purposes by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in the past ten years. The findings show a fire rate reduction, as model years progress from the early 1970s to the mid-1980s. A significant part of this reduction takes place across model year 1976, consistent with expectations based on Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 301 (FMVSS 301), concerning car fuel system integrity, that became essentially effective in model year 1976. However, substantial reductions of fire rates and fuel leak occurence rates are evident as model years progress well beyond 1976. Fire and fuel-leak rates are very sensitive to impact type and impact severity; however, rate reductions are evident irrespective of impact type and impact severity. Contrary to a widely entertained notion, fire and fuel-leak rates are found to be rather insensitive to car size.

  • Availability:
  • Corporate Authors:

    Pergamon Press, Incorporated

    Headington Hill Hall
    Oxford OX30BW,    
  • Authors:
    • Malliaris, A C
  • Publication Date: 1991-8

Media Info

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00611364
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: HS-041 246
  • Files: HSL, TRIS, ATRI
  • Created Date: Aug 31 1996 12:00AM