Crashes Accompanied by Fire: What Do the Accident Data Tell Us? 2006-01-0790
Using data from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System, the National Automotive Sampling System's Crashworthiness Data System and General Estimates System, and combined state data from Idaho, Illinois, and Maryland, we examined crashes accompanied by fire. Vehicles weighing less than 10,000 lbs were analyzed, and were further categorized by type. Differences in fire rates were found in the examination of many of the factors reviewed. The distribution of fires occurring at various points of impact is different from the distribution of impact in all crashes. Crashes accompanied by fire occur more frequently after frontal collisions and are less likely to occur after side or rear impact collisions. The strongest indicator of fire is the amount of energy in the crash. Therefore, vehicle speed and the type of object or vehicle struck during the crash are relevant factors in collisions accompanied by fire. Additionally, an examination of multiple data sources revealed that statistically significant conclusions regarding collisions accompanied by fire are not always possible because of the rarity of the event and the nature of the accident data coding, which often lacks detailed information.