U.S. statistics show that in 2006, vehicle fires were to blame for “an estimated 490 deaths, 1,200 injuries and $1.3 billion in property damage“. These numbers are staggering. They become even more so when you consider that “three-quarters of highway vehicle fires resulted from mechanical or electrical failures or malfunctions”. This ultimately means that the majority of the deaths, injuries and property damage sustained by vehicle fires could have been avoided altogether, if only the vehicle’s manufacturer had produced a malfunction-free, fire-safe car for the market.
Until stricter guidelines are made mandatory for car manufacturers, vehicle fires will continue to occur. At times, these accidents can happen unexpectedly, without warning or notice, and even without a collision. It is wise to educate yourself on steps you can take to prevent these fires, and what to do should you become a vehicle fire victim. Here are a few tips to keep in mind:
-Maintain your vehicle well. Have repairs done as needed. Have your vehicle inspected at least once a year.
-Keep up-to-date on recalls that pertain to your vehicle. For example, the latest Honda Fit recall is due to a fire hazard that can be caused just from having water leak in through the window.
-Be aware of the noises your car makes. Make an effort to turn down the radio and just listen to the way your car is running from time to time. Anything that sounds out of the ordinary is worth getting checked out.
-Periodically check for wear and tear on your vehicle. Be sure all bolts and wiring are secure. Check for cracked pipes or hoses. If anything is out of place or appears worn out, have it repaired as soon as you can.
-If your car does catch on fire, pull over to the side of the road. Turn the car off. Get everyone out of the vehicle, and move at least 100 feet away. Keep everyone together and away from the road or highway. Call 911.
-Do not attempt to open the hood of a burning car.
-Do not attempt to put the fire out of a burning vehicle. Statistics show that “one-third of non-fatal highway vehicle fire injuries occurred when civilians attempted to fight the fire themselves”.
For more information on vehicle fires and the risk they impose on drivers and their families, please visit:
Vehicle fires are serious accidents that can leave victims disfigured or disabled for the rest of their lives. Many times the financial loss of a vehicle or other property damage becomes an enormous burden for families. And of course, no one can replace the innocent lives that these catastrophic accidents claim. If you have been injured or suffered loss as a result of a vehicle fire, don't forget you may have a legal claim against the manufacturer. Without a doubt the manufacturer will try to lay blame elsewhere, as seen in the Toyota incidents, and create illusions that make your story seem false
But the lawmakers questioned whether Toyota had fully explored the problem. According to the committee's review of 75,000 documents from Toyota, including 20,000 in Japanese, the automaker dismissed many sudden acceleration complaints as driver error.
After the launch of probes by two committees, Toyota hired an outside engineering firm, Exponent, to run tests on its electronic throttle controls. Executives later cited an interim report by Exponent finding no fault with the controls as evidence that the system worked as designed.
But the committee said Exponent only tested six vehicles and did not conduct any testing of real-world interference. Two outside experts who reviewed the report said it was so limited it was of little value. (read more)
However, your legal rights should not be forgotten. If you or a loved one have suffered loss or injury as a result vehicle fire, we’d like to help. Please contact the law offices of D. Hardison Wood to speak with an attorney who will fight to make sure your rights are protected.