customers without power from crashes in 2021

291 vehicles

hit SMUD equipment in 2021

$15 thousand

in repair costs per pole

Driver safety

We replace a power pole about every other day because of a vehicle crash.

Your safety is our first priority

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

We don't want to see anyone get hurt. 6 lives were lost in 2021.

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 vehicle and call 911.


If your vehicle 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 your vehicle and the ground at the same time. '''
Call 911 and warn others to stay away from the area.



On the road

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

Be safe always

  • Never drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
  • Pay attention to and obey all speed limits and signs.
  • 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.

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.

Take extra care

  • Adjust your driving during extreme weather conditions.
  • If you have to be somewhere on time, leave early.
  • When you’re driving through work zones reduce your speed, pay close attention to the signs and cones and always be prepared to stop. 
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How many?

Total crashes involving SMUD equipment:

  • 2014 - 156
  • 2015 - 226
  • 2016 - 271
  • 2017 - 241
  • 2018 - 242
  • 2019 - 252
  • 2020 - 263
  • 2021 - 291
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How serious?

  • 2017 - 5 lives lost
  • 2018 - 6 lives lost
  • 2019 - 2 lives lost
  • 2020 - 4 lives lost
  • 2021 - 6 lives lost
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Most crashes into SMUD equipment happen December - May.

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Who pays?

Drivers are ultimately responsible for all the damages related to a crash.

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4-7% of all outages are caused by vehicles crashing into SMUD equipment.

  • 2014 - 4%
  • 2015 - 5%
  • 2016 - 6%
  • 2017 - 4%
  • 2018 - 6%
  • 2019 - 5%
  • 2020 - 7%
  • 2021 - 4%
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How much?

It costs about $15,000 to replace a power pole.

  • Includes the cost to replace the SMUD equipment only
  • Does not include the cost of personal property, damage to the vehicle 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.

linemen install reflective strips   installation of protective barriers near pole  shows old and new pole locations near the road 





Other resources


Street lighting improves safety for drivers and pedestrians.
Keep our workers safe and our environment clean.