Vehicle Fire Information

Vehicle fires are your fault – you were negligent … according to Highways England.

We sought evidence to support the approach.  It is evident there is none, it is an opinion. Indeed we are increasingly concerned that Highway contractors failure to remove debris and litter from carriageways is fueling a rise in such incidents.  The irony is that, when repairing the road following a fire, the contractor will remove litter & debris – the hazard that may have given rise to the incident is addressed due to the incident … at the cost to the driver!

As for the information Highways England hold about such matters, the response was:

‘The Agency look at claims on the basis of what we believe the balance of probabilities are of a Court finding in an individual case, rather than the statistical settlement of previous cases.

For the type of claim we are discussing here, it is our opinion in such matters that a Court would be prepared to draw an inference of negligence against a Defendant without detailed evidence, as vehicle fires do not ordinarily occur.

It is for the Defendant to rebut the claim with evidence of due care, such as a comprehensive documented service record and it is on that evidence that the Highways Agency would consider how to progress, purely on the balance of probabilities of the legal position on each case, not on a statistical basis.’ FOI # CRS 712,694 19/02/2015

A Fire Service’s report may not assist either party as this may classify the cause of the fire as ‘accidental’. However, in some instances the reports tend to favour the claimant, Highways England.   Without evidence, a report may convey ‘fault in equipment or appliance (engine compartment)’ or similar.   The claimant Authroity is likely to respond that, from this initial information, the fire was caused by a fault in the engine compartment of the vehicle which clearly implies a lack of maintenance or some other factor within the control of the vehicle owner was instrumental in causing the incident.

We are disputing this approach – registered users can click here  for more information.

Fire data:

15/07/2019 FoIA request @ WDTK to the Home Office,

The information sought is:
The number of vehicle fire attendances per financial year (April to March) since 2013.
The template reporting document used by the fire and rescue service for recording vehicle fires.
The guidance for completing.
The categories of fire cause
How the cause is identified

31/07/2019 response from the Home Office

Section 21 of the Freedom of Information Act exempts the Home Office from having to provide you with this information, because the majority is already reasonably accessible to you, and the remainder is not collected. If you have any difficulties in accessing this information at the source which I have indicated below, please contact me again.

Data can be found at: 
in the following tables:
• number of vehicle fires, Table 0102
• number of spills and leaks, Table 0902

The causes of vehicle fires can be found in the road vehicle fire incident level dataset here:

We only collect information on the cause of fires, so it is not available for spills.
The information is collected in an online form and the template and guidance document is here.


05/03/2019 – Your vehicle may have a current MoT but this is not good enough for the Public Authority – if it has failed an MoT in the past, this will be used against you – click here for more info’.