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Journal Article

Fire in Large Truck Crashes: Comparing Results from the Large Truck Crash Causation Study with FARS and NASS/GES Data

Fires originating in large trucks can be significant in terms of both the potential for personal injury or death and the potential for substantial economic loss of the vehicle and its cargo. This analysis examines the large trucks involved in fire incidents and the causes of the fires by examining the National Automotive Sampling System (NASS/GES), the Large Truck Crash Causation Study (LTCCS), and the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS). In this report we compare the rate of post-collision fire observed in these databases, analyze the reasons for differences in and describe the circumstances of large truck fires as reported in the LTCCS.
Technical Paper

Vehicle Fire Data: Different Sources, Different Goals, Different Conclusions?

Objective: To provide an understanding of the scope of the major sources of vehicle fire data, the questions they were intended to answer, and how issues of definition, inclusion, and quality can affect the conclusions obtained. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's (NHTSA's) Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS), by definition, focuses on fatal accidents. NHTSA also maintains the National Automotive Sampling System (NASS) General Estimates System (GES).These systems capture data on roadway accidents that resulted in injury, fatality or property damage and which were reported to police. The GES system is based upon data recorded in the police accident report. In addition, some databases of police accident reports are publicly available. The U.S. Fire Administration's (USFA's) National Fire Incident Reporting System (NFIRS) is used by fire departments to document details about all types of fires.
Technical Paper

Analysis of Garage Fires

Recently there has been increasing interest in stationary vehicle fires (SVF) and the safety of vehicles parked in garages. This interest has grown out of allegations by insurance companies that garage fires, some of which spread to other parts of the residence and cause considerable damage and/or injuries, may be caused by vehicles, and hence the vehicle manufacturer should be liable for damages. Data from the National Fire Incidence Reporting System (NFIRS) 1999-2002 were used to study the involvement of motor vehicles in garage fires and to compare the risk of injury and fatality in post collision fuel fed fires (PCFFF) to risk of fatality in garage fires. This paper explores the role of both vehicles and other causes in garage fires. It is found that only 4.4% of garage fires in the US, or approximately 1,200 annual fires, are of the type that could possibly be related to vehicle design or maintenance.
Technical Paper

The Relationship Between Airbags and Injuries

The purpose of this study was to analyze real world crash data to determine whether airbags cause more severe injuries than they prevent and which types of injuries they cause. Using data from the National Accident Sampling System Crashworthiness Data System (NASS CDS), we examined passenger vehicles involved in frontal collisions for calendar years 1995-2003. We found that 99% of airbag-induced injuries to front outboard occupants are minor or moderate, regardless of the occupants' belt use. Belted occupants are 4 times more likely to sustain an AIS3+ injury (serious, severe, critical, or maximum) from any injury source compared to occupants with an airbag-induced injury; the risk of AIS3+ injury from any source is even higher for unbelted occupants. The evidence suggests that airbags do indeed mitigate severe injury.
Technical Paper

Safety Performance of Rear Seat Occupant Restraint Systems

Research was undertaken to determine the effectiveness of rear-seat outboard occupant restraint systems in passenger cars, focusing on the overall efficacy of two-point rear-seat occupant restraint systems and comparing the relative performance of two-and three-point rear-seat occupant restraint systems. While a significant body of literature exists comparing the safety performance of various types of front-seat occupant restraint systems, very little comprehensive accident data analysis (i.e., using large volumes of data) has been conducted to date comparing the safety performance of rear-seat occupant restraint systems. For the study, the motor vehicle accident databases from five states were examined to determine the reduction in rear-seat occupant injuries associated with two-point and three-point rear-seat occupant restraint systems.