customers without power from accidents in 2017

241 cars

hit SMUD equipment in 2017

$15 thousand

in repair costs per pole

Car pole safety

We replace a power pole about every other day because of a car accident.

Your safety is our first priority

We're seeing more cars hit our power poles, often because of distracted driving. 

We don't want to see anyone get hurt. 5 lives were lost in 2017.

Watch our video or read below on what to do if you hit a power pole.

Please steer clear of the poles and drive safely.

Tips in case you hit a power pole

'' Stay in your car and call 911.


If the car is on fire, jump out, 
keeping your feet together and shuffle away from the scene.


Get at least 40 feet away and do not go back.
Do not touch the vehicle and the ground at the same time. '''
Call 911 and warn others to stay away from the area.


Additional information

We want to keep you safe, both in and out of your home. When driving:

Avoid distractions

  • Use your cell phone for emergency situations only and after pulling over.
  • Limit the number of passengers and activity inside the car.
  • Avoid eating while driving.
  • Do not attempt to multi-task while operating a vehicle.

Make sure there are ideal conditions

  • Never drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
  • Pay attention to and obey all speed limits and signs.
  • Adjust your driving during extreme weather conditions.
  • If you have to be somewhere on time, leave early.

Be safe

  • If you are drowsy, pull off the road.
  • Check both sides of the street before crossing at a green light.
  • Make sure that you and your passengers are always wearing seatbelts.

How many?

Total car accidents involving SMUD equipment:

  • 2014 - 156
  • 2015 - 226
  • 2016 - 271
  • 2017 - 241

How serious?

5 lives lost in 2017.



Most car accidents with SMUD equipment happens December - May.


Who pays?

Drivers are ultimately responsible for all the damages related to the accident.



4-6% of all outages are caused by a car accident with SMUD equipment.

  • 2014 - 4%
  • 2015 - 5%
  • 2016 - 6%
  • 2017 - 4%

How much?

It costs about $20,000 in SMUD costs alone.

  • Average insurance usually only covers up to $10,000
  • The driver is personally responsible for the rest of the costs
  • Includes the cost to replace the SMUD equipment only
  • Does not include the cost of other personal property damaged like the car, or any bodily injury

If a power pole is hit multiple times, we look at solutions to reduce the risk that it will be hit again:

Install higher visibility reflective strips. All new

poles get these as a standard.

Install large, protective barriers around the pole.


Relocate the pole or structure.



Discover workshops and training opportunities for local teens

We partner with Impact Teen Drivers, a nationwide organization dedicated to changing the culture of driving by educating teens on the dangers and impact of reckless and distracted driving. We're offering two classes in January:


Stop Distracted Teen Drivers: Lead the Leaders

Residential high school students are invited to attend this educational training program that powers teens and young adults to fight against reckless and distracted driving in their own communities.

January 23, 2019
4:30 - 7:30 PM
SMUD Customer Service Center- Rubicon Room
6301 S St, Sacramento, California, 95817



Stop Distracted Teen Drivers: Parent-Teen Workshop

Residential parents and teens learn about the, "What Do You Consider Lethal?" campaign, as well as teen driving safety and graduated driver licensing laws.

January 26, 2019
11:30 AM
SMUD Customer Service Center- Rubicon Room
6301 S St, Sacramento, California, 95817



Have questions? Contact us at etcmail@smud.org or 1-916-732-6738.