The U.S. Fire Administration recently issued a special report examining the characteristics of highway vehicle fires. The report, Highway Vehicle Fires (2008-2010), was developed by National Fire Incident Reporting System.’s National Fire Data Center and is based on 2008 to 2010 data from the
According to the report, approximately one in seven fires responded to by fire departments is a highway vehicle fire. Unintentional action (32%) was the leading cause of highway vehicle fires. Eighty-six percent of highway vehicle fires occurred in passenger vehicles, with 61% of highway vehicle fires and 35% of fatal highway vehicle fires originating in the engine, running gear or wheel area of the vehicle.
The leading factor contributing to the ignition of highway vehicle fires was mechanical failure (44%). Insulation around electrical wiring (28 percent) and flammable liquids in the engine area (18%) were the most common items first ignited in highway vehicle fires.