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Root Cause Trends (2019-2020) - Consistent Findings Over Time

Figure 15

When comparing damage root cause groups as a percentage of the total, no locate request increased slightly in 2020 and then decreased for 2021. A likely contributing factor was the change in behavior during the initial year of the COVID-19 pandemic. As indicated in the 2020 DIRT Report, 811 centers (one call centers) reported increases in homeowner tickets that year, as people were doing more home improvement projects including landscaping, pools, decks, fencing, etc. Furthermore, we know that as an excavator type, homeowners consistently have a high percentage of damages due to no locate request. With the increase in homeowner tickets, there were likely many home improvement projects occurring without 811 notifications.[1] Using the comparable dataset, the “known” percentages of damages attributed to homeowners in 2019, 2020 and 2021 were 7.31%, 8.86% and 8.07% respectively.

Analysis of trends in root cause groups and the individual root causes all show very minor fluctuations year-to-year within the comparable dataset. The comparable dataset used for 2021 accounts for 86% of the complete 2021 dataset used in the Data Overview 2021 section of this report. In each of the following root cause figures (16 through 18), none of the totals for 2021 differ from the comparable dataset by more than 2%. These figures demonstrate the consistency of the data and findings. The Data Overview 2021 section of this Report contains analysis and commentary that would apply here as well.


[1] In some instances, 811 notification may not have been required due to exemptions for homeowners, hand tools or depth.

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