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Alabama Tries to Prevent Lawsuits by Cutting Down Hundreds of Trees

Bradford pear trees are among the tree species that are being removed from roadsides throughout Alabama in order to prevent lawsuits from motorists who run off the road and hit them.

Hundreds of trees along roadways throughout Alabama will soon be cut down by state highway officials in order to protect the state from lawsuits by 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 that 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 sturdy 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.

Source: The Birmingham News, The Associated Press

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June 27, 2019, 2:00 am PDT

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