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Poor Fuel Tank Placement Can Cause Fires and Explosions in Auto Collisions

February 13, 2013

Motor vehicle accidents are dangerous and frightening scenarios, but car accidents that result in explosions and fires pose a particularly high risk of devastating injuries and wrongful death.

While negligent drivers who disregard safe driving practices are technically responsible for collisions that cause fuel fed fires and explosions, the design of the vehicle as well as faulty components often turn a crash that might not result in serious injury into a potentially fatal collision.

Fuel fed gasoline fires and explosions may be the result of the decision by vehicle manufacturers to locate a vehicle's gas tank in a location that makes it vulnerable during a collision. Vehicle manufacturers have a responsibility to design crashworthy vehicles that reduce the risk of injuries and fatalities during a collision. Generally, the design of vehicles should include placement of the gas tanks of the vehicle within the protective barrier provided by a car, truck or SUVs frame. In contrast, a pickup truck may be equipped with saddlebag gas tanks that are located outside the vehicle's frame. When the vehicle is involved in a T-bone intersection collision the tanks may leak and cause a fire and/or explosion.

There also have been cases where vehicles have exploded because gas tanks were located at the rear of the vehicle but not within the protective barrier provided by the vehicle's frame. Rear-end collisions are the most common type of motor vehicle accident. When motor vehicles have gas tanks located behind the rear axle, the vehicle may explode. This design defect caused gas tank explosions of Pintos manufactured by Ford during the 1970s and Crown Victoria sedans also manufactured by Ford during the 1990s. When gas tanks are positioned behind the rear axle, they have no protection from the frame of the vehicle.

When manufacturers locate fuel tanks in unsafe positions or equip vehicles with faulty fuel lines or defective fuel safety valves or fuel tanks that are not protected from the impact of a collision, the vehicle and/or component manufacturer may be liable for the severe injuries caused by fires or explosions. When auto accident victims suffer injuries in an explosion or fire, they may be forced to endure multiple surgeries, such as reconstructive surgery and skin grafts.

Our experienced Georgia car accident attorneys represent clients who are involved in a collision because of a defect associated with their vehicle, as well as vehicle occupants who suffer more severe injuries because of vehicle manufacturing flaws. Our Atlanta accident attorneys at Montlick and Associates are available to provide effective legal representation to clients throughout all of Georgia and the Southeast, including but not limited to Albany, Athens, Atlanta, Augusta, Columbus, Gainesville, Macon, Marietta, Rome, Roswell, Savannah, Smyrna, Valdosta, Warner Robins and all smaller cities and rural areas in the state.

No matter where you are located our attorneys are just a phone call away, and we will even come to you. Call us 24 hours a day/7 days a week for your Free Consultation at 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333). You can also visit us online at and use our Free Case Evaluation Form or 24-hour Live Online Chat.

Category: Auto Accidents

Please Note:
Many of our blog articles discuss the law. All information provided about the law is very general in nature and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Every situation is different, and should be analyzed by a lawyer who can provide individualized advice based on the facts involved in your unique situation, and a consideration of all of the nuances of the statutes and case law that apply at the time.