Mail trucks are bursting into flames at a fee that might trigger a large remember in the event that they had been passenger cars.
More than a hundred and twenty fires have taken place inside the beyond 5 years, together with 12 in the first 4 months of this year. News and social media pics show the vehicles burning intensely, frequently inches far from trees, cars and, in a single case, a gas pump in Connecticut.
The incidents of mail trucks fires are on tempo this yr to double the range that happened final yr. At least one damage, a letter service burning his hand, is related to the fires.
But the U.S. Postal Service continues working its fleet of one hundred forty,000 custom-made Grumman Long Life Vehicles. It declined to reply Trucks.Com requests for records approximately the causes of the fires and its actions to treatment the hassle. The average age of the trucks is now 27.Five years.
CONCERN FOR PUBLIC SAFETY
Safety advocates say the continued conflagrations are a growing public safety risk.
“You aren’t going to have this many fires and no longer ultimately get to a tragedy,” stated Sean Kane, president of Safety Research & Strategies Inc.
The fires erupt while the vehicles are being operated as meant rather than being brought about by means of a crash. That’s a problem, said, safety specialists.
“Non-crash fires are serious and uncommon and ought to usually be taken critically,” stated Jason Levine, govt director at the Center for Auto Safety, a customer advocacy group.
When a non-crash fireplace erupts in a client truck or car, it may cause a chain of steps that could lead to an eventual manufacturer to remember hundreds of motors. Fires within the Postal Service’s light-duty mail vehicles don’t spark off the equal collection of events or out of doors scrutiny.
Some producers of passenger motors will take motion after far fewer mentioned incidents.
Earlier this month, General Motors Co. Recalled greater than 300,000 GMC Sierra and Chevrolet Silverado pickup trucks with diesel engines following 19 reviews of engine block heater twine fires. It is also preserving tens of lots of unsold vehicles at dealerships. No injuries or crashes have been related to the fires, GM said.
The Postal Service hired an engineering firm in 2014 to investigate the cause of the fires. When no single reason become determined, the company increased efforts to paste to mandated renovation schedules and quality-track restore and protection techniques, consistent with business enterprise memos.
The Postal Service declined to comment on the capability public safety risk posed with the aid of the fires. It also declined to mention how many fires have happened. And it declined to touch upon whether it has mentioned the fires with Morgan Olson LLC, a successor company to the unique manufacturer.
“The protection of our employees is a matter of splendid significance to the Postal Service,” stated Kim Frum, an business enterprise spokesperson, in an e-mail. All automobiles bought by means of the Postal Service ought to meet Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards, whether off-the-shelf cars or reason-built vehicles, Frum stated.
Morgan Olson did no longer reply to a request for remark.
The Postal Service is including off-the-shelf industrial cars to its shipping fleet. But the maximum of those new vans and trucks are not supposed for daily mail transport routes in cities and suburbs.
The enterprise has recognized approximately the problem for years.
In 2016, the Postal Service issued a memo to fleet maintenance and fleet management entitled “Potential Causes of Vehicle Fires.” The memo stated its cause become “to area emphasis on protection procedures which could prevent a vehicle fire to dispose of capability damage to the automobile occupant(s), the lack of equipment and feasible harm or loss of our consumer’s mail.”