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Each year, from 2014 to 2016, an estimated 171,500 highway vehicle fires occurred in the United States, resulting in an annual average of 345 deaths; 1,300 injuries; and $1.1 billion in property loss.1 These highway vehicle fires accounted for 13 percent of fires responded to by fire departments across the nation.2 The term “highway vehicle fires” includes fires in passenger road vehicles (e.g., cars, motorcycles and off-road recreational vehicles), freight road transport vehicles (e.g., dump trucks, fire apparatus and tank trucks), and agricultural and construction vehicles.
Table 4 shows categories of the factors contributing to the ignition of highway vehicle fires. Mechanical failure or malfunction was the leading contributing factor of highway vehicle fires (45 percent).