Many vehicle fires are unreported in Ontario’s  official collision statistics because they occur after the “first harmful event”.

A small postscript in the daily news has noted that on Saturday, August 7, 2021 an eastbound vehicle left Blyth Road near Walton, Ontario and struck a tree. The driver died. Oh, yes, and there was a post-impact fire, but that is irrelevant. Such is the manner of reporting vehicles fires that could be leading to unknown numbers of motorist deaths in Ontario.

How many vehicles fires are occurring in Ontario is unreported. The most recent Ontario statistics of vehicle fires, which are not very recent, are shown  in the table below.

Interestingly, the ORSAR indicates that there have been no fatalities from vehicle fires until 2017 when there were suddenly seven.

Gorski Consulting conducted a survey  of  news  media  articles  from various official news media outlets, in  Ontario.  This  was  not  a complete  reporting  of  all vehicle  fires  since  we   do  not  have  sufficient  resources  to  conduct such  a detailed  study.  Never-the-less  the  incomplete  results  are  shown  in  the  table  below..

Why do the results of our incomplete survey show many more fatalities in vehicle fires than what is reported in Ontario’s official statistics?

One possible reason is that official collision statistics describe collisions according to their “first harmful event”. So in the case of the fatal collision on Blyth Road, the collision would be described as, either “ran off roadway”, an “impact with a ditch” or, most likely, a “tree impact”. But what if the driver survived any of these impacts but simply could not escape the interior of his vehicle? What if the driver died because he was burned alive? Would that result be important to document?

As some would say, there are lies, there are damned lies, and finally there are statistics. What we need are accurate and relevant facts that inform us of dangers that could cause our deaths. As vehicle electrical systems are becoming more powerful and more and more vehicles are operating on electrical power, we need to have accurate information about what these changes are causing to our road safety and what we can do to reduce these potential sources of vehicle fires.