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Alabama Car Accidents: Officials Blame Trees

Bradford pears are some of the hundreds of trees being removed from roadsides in Alabama to head off lawsuits from the motorists who hit them.

Hundreds of trees along Alabama roadways will be cut down by highway workers in order to protect the state from lawsuits from motorists who drive off of the road and hit them.

A Department of Transportation (DOT) told The Birmingham News that the agency has been sued over motorists hitting trees in the cities of Huntsville and Alexander City. The trees, officials said, were growing in non-permitted areas.

According to urban planners, trees and green space can provide a calming affect on city drivers. However, federal and state requirements call for a "clear zone" that would enable motorists to leave the road and stop without hitting a tree or other solid object.

"Safety is a real issue, and then there is the problem of liability... we can't afford to do nothing," said Brian Davis, chief engineer with the Department of Transportation.

Alabama is not the only state trying to enforce these safety standards. The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials said in a recent report that removing trees from a clear zone is the best option unless there an environmental or historical reason not to.

Sources: The Birmingham News, Associated Press

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June 27, 2019, 1:59 am PDT

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