Fire Occurrence in Side Crashes Based on NASS/CDS 2009-01-0008
The basis for this analysis was NASS/CDS 1997 to 2006. In the NASS database there were 60 cases with major fires in side impact crashes, 37 of which were in passenger vehicles less than 10 years old. These newer vehicles were examined in this study.
Cases in NASS were examined to identify crash characteristics associated with major fires in side crashes. The database contained 22 cases with fatalities, eleven of which were coded as fire related. Three of these were associated with fires that did not originate from the crashed vehicle.
The fuel tank was coded as the fire origin for 41% of the major fires in vehicles with side damage and for 7 out of the 8 vehicles with fire related fatalities. The most frequent crash characteristic was an impact with a narrow object that produced severe side damage. Lower extent of damage was evident in two fatal cases that involved a rollover following the side impact.