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Car Crash Fatalities Associated With Fire in Sweden
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Surgical and Perioperative Sciences, Surgery.
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Surgical and Perioperative Sciences, Surgery.
2013 (English)In: Traffic Injury Prevention, ISSN 1538-9588, Vol. 14, no 8, 823-827 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Objective: To study the epidemiology and causes of death in fatal car crashes on Swedish roads in which the victim's vehicle caught fire. Methods: The data set is from the Swedish Transport Administrations in-depth studies of fatal crashes 1998-2008. Autopsies from all cases provided data on injuries, toxicological analyses, and cause of death. Results: In total, 181 people died in 133 burning cars, accounting for 5 percent of all deaths in passenger cars, sport utility vehicles, vans, and minibuses during 1998 to 2008. The cause of death for a third of the victims was fire related, as burns and/or smoke inhalation injuries, with no fatal trauma injuries. Twenty-five of these 55 deaths were persons 19 years or younger and included 15 of 18 rear seat deaths. Over half of the 181 deaths were in vehicles that had collided with another vehicle and, of these cases, half were killed in collisions with heavy vehicles. The percentage of drivers with illegal blood alcohol concentrations (27%) and suicides (5.5%) were not higher than in other fatal crashes on Swedish roads. The ignition point of the fire was indicated in only half of the cases and, of those, half started in the engine compartment and one fourth started around the fuel tank or lines. Conclusions: Car fires are a deadly postcrash problem. Reducing this risk would be primarily a responsibility for the automotive industry. A multifactor approach could be considered as follows: risk-reducing design, insulation, reduced flammability in motor compartment fluids and plastics, and automatic fire extinguishing equipment. Inspiration could be found in how, for example, the auto racing and aviation industries handle this problem.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Wiley-Blackwell, 2013. Vol. 14, no 8, 823-827 p.
Keyword [en]
vehicle fire, fatality, death rate, burns, smoke inhalation
National Category
Medical and Health Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-84812DOI: 10.1080/15389588.2013.777956ISI: 000328537400007OAI: diva2:691736
Available from: 2014-01-28 Created: 2014-01-20 Last updated: 2014-04-22Bibliographically approved

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