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Accid Anal Prev. 2012 Jul;47:140-5. doi: 10.1016/j.aap.2011.10.008. Epub 2012 Feb 8.

Crash and burn? Vehicle, collision, and driver factors that influence motor vehicle collision fires.

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  • 1Kentucky Injury Prevention and Research Center, University of Kentucky, College of Public Health, 333 Waller Ave., Suite 242, Lexington, KY 40504, USA.


A retrospective population-based case-control study was performed to determine the association between vehicle fires, and vehicle, collision, and driver factors on highways with a posted speed limit of at least 55mph. Data were obtained from the Kentucky Collision Report Analysis for Safer Highways (CRASH) electronic files for 2000-2009 from the Kentucky State Police Records Sections. The results from the final multiple logistic regression show that large trucks were at a higher risk for a collision involving a fire than passenger vehicles and pickup trucks. When controlling for all other variables in the model, vehicles 6 years old and older, driving straight down the highway, and single vehicle collisions were also identified as factors that increase the risk of motor vehicle collision fires on roadways with a posted speed limit of ≥55mph. Of the 2096 vehicles that caught fire, there were 632 (30%) non-fatally injured drivers and 224 (11%) fatally injured drivers. The results of this study have the potential to inform public health messages directed to the transportation industry, particularly semi truck drivers, in regard to fire risk.

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