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Lives Are On the Line
By: Steve Sokolowski, Marketing Associate
Distracted driving is a major problem across the U.S. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, distracted driving resulted in 3,522 deaths and 362,415 injuries in reported vehicle crashes in 2021. Activities like texting while driving can have life-altering consequences, and it’s no different on our rural roads.
Last year, SREC had nearly double its usual number of car-pole outages, where a motor vehicle collides with a utility pole (or other utility equipment) causing a power outage. When this happens, Sussex Rural Electric Cooperative crews are dispatched to make repairs while local police and emergency services tend to the driver. In many cases, this is an unfortunate result of distracted driving.
SREC crew members have reported that they’ve had several experiences where drivers ignored posted signs, drove around cones or barriers, or refused to slow down in a work zone. In one incident, our crew had just arrived on the scene of a large fallen tree when a driver who was not paying attention drove right into the tree that was blocking the road.
Distracted driving and disregarding safety barriers can have fatal consequences. A lineman working on live wires, up 40 feet in an aerial bucket, can easily be killed if a vehicle bumps into their bucket truck. By law, when driving around a work zone you are required to reduce your speed, follow all posted signs, and stop when instructed.
Just because many of our roadways are isolated does not mean there aren’t consequences for reckless or distracted driving. Our crews, other drivers, and our whole community depend on you making smart choices on the road. Remember – lives are on the line!