Over the past several years, there has been a sharp increase of motor vehicle refueling fires. In response, the Petroleum Equipment Institute (PEI) started investigating and documenting refueling fires in 2000. By August 2002, there were already at least 150 documented cases where refueling fires were caused by discharge of static electricity.
Our car accident attorneys are always concerned for the safety of all motor vehicle drivers and passengers. So we hope that everyone will take note of the following 3 car safety tips that PEI provided while auto drivers are refueling.
- Turn off the car engine before fueling. Ignition provides a spark of electricity that could start an electric fire while a car is refueling. A running car can provide a number of different “ignition sources” for petroleum vapors. Not turning off the engine presents even greater risks after catching on fire. In case a fire does start up during refueling, a running car provides a much greater danger. If a burning car starts rolling, there could potentially be a fire in motion running through the streets. This could cause a chain of car accidents with other motor vehicles on the roads, and may catch them on fire. In the worst possible situation, an explosion may be induced and burn injuries sustained.
- Do not smoke. Smoking, or even just using matches or lighters, all provide a source of fire for the flammable fuel vapors, increasing danger for automobile drivers and passengers.
- Never reenter your car while refueling. PEI has documented that most refueling fires are caused by transfer of static electricity. And this applies to all types of motor vehicles, including trucks, sedans, and other types of cars. Getting back in the automobile could create static buildup, which is caused by the motor vehicle driver sliding across the seat as he or she gets in and gets back out. So when the car driver reaches out to remove the fuel nozzle, the spark may start an electric fire. Even as car accident lawyers, we found it surprising that just a tiny static exchange could spark a car fire.
Our car accident lawyers believe that it is important that all car drivers are aware of and follow these 3 cardinal rules while refueling. We have handled many cases where car accidents cause pain and suffering, which could have been avoided had the auto driver been aware of automobile refueling dangers. By analogy, we believe that these tips may prevent car refueling fires that could cause tragic deaths or serious injuries.
Please contact us for a Free Consultation with an experienced car accident attorney at (800) 655-6585 or click here to submit your case for a Free Review.
SENIOR PERSONAL INJURY ATTORNEY & FIRM FOUNDER
Michael Pines is a former insurance company attorney who graduated from the University of California Hastings College of the Law in 1987. While he was an insurance attorney, he learned from behind the scenes how insurance companies work and how they decide how much to pay injured people. Now that he works against insurance companies, Michael’s inside knowledge has resulted in significant benefits to his clients injured in car accidents. Learn more about Michael Pines