NHTSA, automakers address fire risks


David Shepardson/ Detroit News Washington Bureau
Washington -The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, now investigating fire risks in the extended-range electric Chevrolet Volt, has long made fire hazards in gas-powered vehicles a priority.
Automakers have issued about a dozen recalls over the last year for fire risks in gasoline-powered vehicles.
NHTSA has also opened or upgraded a half-dozen investigations into fire problems this year. It also has an ongoing investigation into whether more than 3 million Jeep Grand Cherokees pose a fire hazard.
Although vehicle fires have fallen in recent years, according to the National Fire Protection Association there were 184,500 passenger vehicle fires, including 285 deaths and 1,440 injuries in the United States in 2010. The fires caused about $1 billion in damage.

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