General Motors has announced the recall of 944,000 motor vehicles due to concerns that a fire could break out in the vehicles’ heated windshield washer fluid system. 850,000 of the vehicles recalled are in the US. According to GM, If the circuit board that controls the system experiences a short circuit, a grounding wire could overheat. This could lead to other electrical components malfunctioning and in rare instances, a fire could break out.
The auto manufacturing giant says that it knows of at least three incidents in which fires broke out in GM motor vehicles because of this problem. Two vehicles belonged to GM’s fleet of test automobiles. No injuries have been reported. The Chicago Tribune, however, is reporting nine fires stemming from the auto parts defect. As part of the recall, GM dealers will install a device that will allow the system to shut down if a short circuit happens.
Car fires can cause serious injury to drivers, passengers, and others. They can result in toxic or deadly gases, such as carbon monoxide, being emitted from a vehicle.
Car fires can generate heat as hot as 1500 degrees Farenheit, with flames from that potentially extending as far out as 10 feet and beyond. A motor vehicle fire can lead to a deadly explosion, especially when fed by the gas in an automobile’s tank.
According to the US Fire Administration, in 2006:
• There were 278,000 auto fires.
• 490 people died in these fires.
• 1,200 others were injured.
GM recalls 850,000 vehicles over fire risk, ChicagoTribune.com, August 30, 2008
Electric fault spurs big GM recall, Reuters, August 29, 2008
Car Fires: What You Need to Know to Be Safe, Kids Safety Klub
Related Web Resources:
Electric fault spurs big GM recall, Reuters.com, August 29, 2008
The Recalls Summary (Includes the list of GM Vehicles that are part of the recall), NHTSA
US Fire Administration
Throughout the US, our Boston products liability lawyers have helped many clients injured accidents because of a defective auto or auto part recover compensation from auto manufacturers and other negligent parties. Altman & Altman LLP also represents clients with serious burn injuries.