Are roadside trees safe?

One in twelve UK road deaths arises from hitting a tree in a single vehicle accident. About one third of tree impact casualties are in the killed or seriously injured categories. The financial consequences of tree strikes are high; however because the costs are spread over several organisations, the issue has not been properly addressed. Taking preventive measures would improve safety and reduce costs. Felling trees is currently unpopular with highways authorities for environmental and financial reasons and there exists the belief that the responsibility of highway engineers lies with the road itself, and not the roadside. However there is a growing realisation that engineering a safer roadside environment would pay safety dividends. Possible solutions to reduce tree impact casualties include effective maintenance of hedgerows, provision of clear zones where possible, erection of safety barriers in front of trees, and the felling of at-risk trees. More research into tree related accident records is required in order to determine the tree size and vehicle speed ratios likely to cause a fatality, to ascertain the most at-risk trees, and to identify out and quantify risk factors for roadside tree accidents.


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Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01146922
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: Transport Research Laboratory
  • Files: ITRD, ATRI
  • Created Date: Dec 24 2009 8:30AM