More proof needed

Giant gum trees – some of them centuries old – are a real danger to out of control motorists.
These massive trees growing close to the bitumen are now in the sights of those tasked with reducing the road toll.
There’s no denying that car versus tree is one of the most common scenarios in serious injury and fatal vehicle crashes.
However, Motor Accident Commission chairman Roger Cook’s solution, for all the big trees close to the road to be cut down, needs closer examination.
Not all trees involved in fatal crashes are big, or right on the edge of the road.
You can remove the massive tree that is considered a danger but there are still the smaller ones beside or behind it that are directly in the line of fire.
What about other roadside obstacles that are just as deadly such as Stobie poles, fences and other cars?
If you accept the defining argument that lives should come before trees, then the only logical outcome is that all roadsides should be cleared of all obstacles or at least cordoned off.
No-one would be happy with either outcome.
Guardrails may be appropriate in many places but it is impractical and cost-prohibitive to box in every SA rural road.
Gum trees are integral to the Australian landscape, particularly in the Hills where the scenery is one of the reasons so many people visit and choose to live here.
Thanks to decades of clearing, it is often only on the roadsides that contain some of the oldest trees and rarest vegetation.
They provide vital habitat for endangered animals and they are integral to the ecology of the area.
Mechanisms exist for removing trees that are in danger of falling or that obscure motorists’ line of sight or directly encroach on the carriageway.
The wholesale removal of big trees simply because they make big targets for cars is not an adequate reason.
More analysis is needed into the factors contributing to cars leaving the road and hitting these trees.
What was happening in the car and in the outside environment prior to the crash?
Before they cut down several hundred years of history, authorities need to be able to prove it will save lives and not just shift the problem onto the neighboring tree.

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