Crashes into power equipment spike in Valley; APS begging drivers to pay attention

Posted at 9:14 AM, Jul 11, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-11 14:55:14-04

Arizona Public Service is begging drivers to pay attention as they deal with a major spike in people crashing into their power equipment.

In 2017, APS reported 310 crashes -- about 25 each month -- into electrical equipment like power poles and switching cabinets. 

In April 2018 alone, there were 39 crashes and APS says every month this year has been above the average.

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In a majority of cases, they say distracted driving is to blame.

"Texting, maybe using the phone while you're driving," said Franklin Sanderson, the APS metro distribution maintenance manager. "Summertime is even worse, there are more people on the roads, younger drivers are out of school and they're out and about."

The crashes often knock out power to customers and can take several hours to repair, creating dangerous conditions for workers and residents in the sweltering heat.

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"There are medically monitored people, people trying to live their lives. It affects people's businesses as well not having the power they need to run their business and serve their customers correctly." Sanderson said. 

APS has started putting up barriers around some of their equipment to better protect them in the event of a crash. They're also working to educate the public about this consequence of distracted driving.