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U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated average of 152,300 automobile fires per year in 2006-2010. These fires caused an average of 209 civilian deaths, 764 civilian injuries, and $536 million in direct property damage.
Facts and Figures
-Automobile fires were involved in 10% of reported U.S. fires, 6% of U.S. fire deaths.
-On average, 17 automobile fires were reported per hour. These fires killed an average of four people every week.
-Mechanical or electrical failures or malfunctions were factors in roughly two-thirds of the automobile fires.
-Collisions and overturns were factors in only 4% of highway vehicle fires, but these incidents accounted for three of every five (60%) automobile fire deaths.
-Only 2% of automobile fires began in fuel tanks or fuel lines, but these incidents caused 15% of the automobile fire deaths.
Washington — The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said Tuesday it is opening a formal investigation into 13,100 Tesla Motors Model S electric vehicles for battery fires — one month after it declined to do so.
NHTSA Administrator David Strickland told a congressional committee that the agency had seen some issues it wanted to investigate.
“The agency has opened a formal investigation to determine if a safety defect exists in certain Tesla Model S vehicles. The agency’s investigation was prompted by recent incidents in Washington State and Tennessee that resulted in battery fires due to undercarriage strikes with roadway debris,” NHTSA said in a statement.