For more than 100 years, AAA has been a part of America’s love affair with the automobile. A commitment to freedom of mobility and public safety has guided AAA in its involvement in all issues relate to transportation.
This timeline, prepared by the AAA Research Library, is an ongoing enterprise that reflects milestones in American history and AAA contributions.
Entries on the timeline have been authenticated. If this information is used in publications, we ask that careful attention is paid to wording to avoid any misinterpretations.
- March 4: Nine auto clubs meet in Chicago to form the American Automobile Association. They are: Automobile Club of America (1899), Chicago Automobile Club (1900), Automobile Club of New Jersey (1900), Long Island Automobile Club (1900); Rhode Island Automobile Club (1900) Philadelphia Automobile Club (1900) Princeton University Automobile Club (1901) Automobile Club of Utica (1901) and Grand Rapids Automobile Club (1902).
- Membership totaled approximately 1,500.
- Dec 9: Adopts resolution favoring the Brownlow-Latimer Bill, which calls for the appropriation of federal funds for the improvement of national highways.
- AAA opens its first headquarters office, shared with Automobile Club of America, at 753 Fifth Ave. in New York City.
- AAA supports the Good Roads Bill, federal legislation establishing the U.S. Bureau of Public Roads (now the Department of Transportation). Thirteen years later, Woodrow Wilson signs the AAA-sponsored Federal Aid Highway Act, which includes portions of what was formerly the Good Roads Bill, requiring the federal government to appropriate funds for building and improving roads.
- Vanderbilt Cup Race held under the auspices of the AAA Racing Board
- AAA publishes its first street map, of Staten Island. N.Y. The map is hand-drawn in ink on linen.
- AAA conducts first contest for the Charles Glidden Touring Trophy from New York City to Bretton Woods, New Hampshire, and back. These tours encourage manufacturers to produce more reliable vehicles. The Glidden Tour continues for eight years as an annual AAA-sponsored event and demonstrates the reliability of the automobile as basic transportation through long-distance competition.
- AAA enters into its first reciprocal agreement with a foreign auto club, the Touring Club of France. AAA’s agreements with foreign auto clubs continue to benefit AAA members traveling abroad. Foreign visitors to the U.S. also benefit from their country’s auto club membership with AAA.
- AAA adopts its first official emblem — three capital A’s inside interlocking wheels.
- AAA enters into a contract with Blue Book Publishing Co., publishers of the official Automobile Blue Books.
- AAA authors a Uniform State Motor Vehicle Bill that provides for the registration, identification and regulation of motor vehicles driven on public roads and highways.
- AAA co-sponsors the first National Good Roads Convention, the start of AAA’s Good Roads Movement, which plays an important part in the growth of the nation’s highway system. Other sponsors include National Grange and American Road Makers Association.
- AAA joins with the National Association of Automobile Manufacturers. NAAM bails AAA out of financial difficulties.
- Membership totals approximately 10,000.
- AAA creates American Motorist, a monthly magazine featuring travel articles, maps, road reports, hotel and garage listings, state motoring laws and club news.
- AAA sets up the European Touring Bureau in Paris to meet the needs of members traveling in Europe.
- Feb. 15-17: AAA lobbies at a meeting at the Willard Hotel in Washington, D.C., for passage of the Federal Registration Bill, which would eliminate state barriers to interstate travel.
- AAA begins selling American Express travelers checks.
- AAA publishes its first European map.
- AAA publishes Trail to Sunset, a booklet of strip maps detailing a AAA Pathfinder’s route from New York to Jacksonville, FL. Strip maps are combined to make what is now known as AAA TripTik® routings.
- AAA Contest Board supervises the first Indianapolis 500 Race on Memorial Day.
- AAA introduces an oval shape in its logo. The AAA logo has changed several times over the years, most recently in 1997, but the popular oval has always been incorporated into the logo.
- AAA enters the insurance business when the Automobile Club of Southern California establishes an auto insurance underwriting organization.
- AAA publishes its first transcontinental map in sheet map form. This 25-cent map is the first AAA copyrights.
- AAA publishes a series of guidebooks for those planning to travel from north to south: Lakes to Gulf, Dixie Trails and Seminole Trails. Guides sell for $1 each.
- AAA moves the AAA National Office from New York City to Washington, D.C.
- AAA works through the Automobile Club of Southern California to open national parks to automobiles. AAA continues to work with public officials to identify ways to better manage access to the national parks, so all visitors can enjoy and appreciate their unique natural beauty.
- AAA successfully opposes legislation to levy a registration fee, wheel tax and excise tax on automobiles.
- AAA begins transcontinental highway signing project through the Automobile Club of Southern California. AAA erects 4,000 road signs between Los Angeles, CA and Kansas City, Missouri, to designate the National Old Trails route.
- AAA creates the American Association of State Highway Officials (AASHTO) with the American Highway Association.
- AAA first provides signature emergency road service through the Automobile Club of St. Louis. In its earliest forms, service includes fixing tires, engines or small problems, rather than towing. The first providers of this service are five men on motorcycles, called the First Aid Corp. They drive the streets of St. Louis, MO, on Sundays looking for stranded motorists. They assist motorists in getting back on the road, whether or not they are auto club members.
- AAA succeeds in opening Yellowstone National Park to automobile traffic.
- AAA publishes first hotel directory in a single publication. Previous directories had been published in American Motorist.
- AAA issues first pedestrian resolution, which requires pedestrians to abide by signals of traffic officers and cross only in designated places. Jaywalking is considered prima facie evidence of carelessness.
- AAA successfully opposes a 2-cent-per-gallon federal gasoline tax.
- AAA calls on the War Industries Board to prioritize road materials and machinery. Due to lack of official recognition, highway construction and maintenance become increasingly difficult. AAA is instrumental in securing congressional action to provide surplus war materials to states for building roads.
- AAA asks car owners to do their own driving to free up skilled drivers and auto mechanics for the war effort.
- AAA supports and Congress passes the Dyer Anti-theft Act, making the transportation of stolen vehicles across state lines a federal offense.
- AAA launches the Roadside Protection Program, designed to protect highways, and the safety and comfort of travel by planting trees, removing objectionable signs, clearing curves and crossings for better visibility, and establishing sanitary conditions.
- AAA becomes a member of Alliance Internationale de Tourisme (AIT), a global organization of auto clubs. The AAA National Office continues to work closely with this and other international organizations on reciprocal programs, business practices exchange, international public policy and organization of global motoring club information.
- AAA publishes the first annual Highways Greenbook, a report on road building in the U.S.
- AAA publishes the first AAA Campground Directory. AAA’s CampBook® guides grow to 11 editions covering all of North America.
- AAA launches the AAA School Safety Patrol in Illinois through the Chicago Motor Club. The brightly colored belts and silver badges worn by patrollers become enduring emblems of AAA’s concern for children, pedestrians and traffic safety.
- Nov. 9: AAA supports passage of the Federal Highway Act, which provides for an interstate road system. The act is signed by President Warren G. Harding.
- AAA works to defeat a proposed $10 federal tax on cars and trucks.
- AAA opposes motor vehicle taxes levied during World War I, including a gasoline tax and an excise tax on automobiles, trucks and automotive equipment. After six years of persistent opposition, the taxes are repealed in 1928.
- AAA works to defeat a proposed federal registration fee of $2 per car, as well as a federal horsepower tax of $10 to $15 per vehicle.
- AAA begins the National Road Reporting service within the National Touring Bureau. Clubs are sent bimonthly reports on changes in road conditions such as detours, construction work, speed traps, floods and impassable points.
- Membership totals nearly 170,000.
- AAA makes charges of price manipulation in opposition to rising gasoline prices.
- AAA establishes testing stations for headlights.
- AAA sponsors regular Wednesday night broadcasts on matters of interest to motorists on station WRC in Washington, D.C.
- AAA lunches a campaign against the unscrupulous practices of speed traps, roadside courts and justices of the peace who operate under a fee system. Over the decades, AAA remains vigilant in exposing and opposing speed traps, and many communities have instituted ordinances or laws against unreasonably increasing town coffers through the use of speed traps.
- AAA begins the first official inspection of comparative routes between Washington, D.C., and points in Florida in preparation for the publication of Tour Book of the Southeastern States with Main Routes to Florida in 1925.
- AAA launches a campaign against diversion of auto tax revenues for non-highway purposes. Numerous campaigns have been conducted since then, but it isn’t until 1998 that Congress puts up a firewall that keeps Highway Trust Fund revenues, such as federal gas taxes, from being used for purposes other than building and maintaining roads.
- AAA participates in the National Conference on Street and Highway Safety, which drafts the first Uniform Motor Vehicle Code to help enforce street and highway safety.
- AAA formally establishes the National Touring Bureau, the forerunner of AAA’s Travel Services department, which spearheads AAA’s member publications program.
- AAA merges with the National Motorist Association.
- Membership passes 500,000.
- AAA supports the Bureau of Public Roads program to establish a numbering system for U.S. routes and advocates adoption of standardized signs and signals for highways.
- AAA hires Harry S. Truman as a salesman for Automobile Club of Kansas City.
- Membership reaches 600,000.
- AAA releases the first series version of present AAA TourBook® guides. Three editions cover the Northeastern, Southeastern and North Central states, including parts of Canada.
- AAA inaugurates its Official Appointment program, allowing lodgings to place the AAA logo on their buildings.
- AAA campaigns for safe railroad grade crossings.
- AAA sponsors the first voluntary auto inspection program under its Save a Life campaign.
- AAA creates the first national listing of AAA Emergency Road Service stations in the AAA Hotel, Garage and Service Station Directory. Previously, listings were in American Motorist.
- Membership tops 800,000.
- AAA establishes a foreign division to handle steamship service and ship members’ cars abroad.
- AAA establishes a traffic safety department and publishes a safety education curriculum for use by teachers, distributes 250,000 safety posters nationwide and drafts the first model of a safety responsibility bill.
- AAA creates a child safety policy to “continue its aggressive safety campaign,” which includes support of AAA School Safety Patrols and incorporation of safety instructions in public and private schools.
- AAA urges Congress and the president to share information on highways with Pan American Union countries and assist them in development of their highway programs.
- AAA handles routing by air through the Western Airline Company for the first time, through the Automobile Club of Washington.
- Membership passes 900,000.
- AAA develops all-inclusive travel services, including complete tour packages.
- AAA loses more than 300,000 members between 1930 and 1935 during the Great Depression.
- AAA formulates a taxation program, assuring equity to automobile owners and opposing federal government involvement in motor vehicle taxation.
- AAA publishes its first Digest of Motor Vehicle Laws, which describes categories of laws relating to the operation of motor vehicles and the differences in those laws from state to state. The current edition has more than 400 pages and includes Canada.
- AAA urges a road-building program for relief of unemployed.
- AAA publishes the first issue of Holiday magazine.
- AAA joins FIA (Federation of Internationale de l’Automobile), an international organization of auto clubs.
- AAA trademarks the TripTik® routing map. These detailed, customized routing maps have changed little throughout the years.
- AAA suffers through the same tough decisions many companies face during the worst years of the Depression in 1932 and 1933, Salaries are cut 10 percent to 12 percent and resigning employees are not replaced.
- AAA urges universal adoption of the Guest Suit Law, which limits liability of the driver for injuries suffered by passengers being transported free.
- AAA debuts the Bridge and Ferry Directory, helping motorists decrease their travel time.
- AAA conducts tests before Congress to demonstrate that blending alcohol with gasoline produces a less efficient and more costly motor fuel. A bill that would have required the federal government to spend millions on blending alcohol and gasoline is defeated.
- Amos Neyhart, father of driver education and AAA consultant, teaches the first high school class in driver’s education at State College High School, State College, Penn.
- AAA pioneers high school driver education and publishes Sportsmanlike Driving, the first course outline for teachers.
- After the worst years of the Depression pass, membership starts growing again.
- AAA makes Emergency Road Service (ERS) a mandatory service for all AAA-affiliated clubs.
- AAA drafts a Bill of Rights for Motorists that would assure full and free use of the automobile with maximum safety and economy. It also calls for standardized highway signs and markings on all federal-aid highways.
- AAA publishes driver education pamphlets The Driver and The Driver and Pedestrian Responsibilities, for high schools. Five pamphlets in the series are eventually bound together and titled Sportsmanlike Driving in 1937.
- AAA sponsors the first Teachers’ Training Course in Driver Education at Pennsylvania State College, which is taught by Amos Neyhart. This is the first driver testing program funded by a grant from the Automotive Safety Foundation. It also marks the first use of dual-control cars for AAA club-sponsored driver education courses.
- AAA introduces a pedestrian safety program with a grant from the Automotive Safety Foundation.
- AAA begins field inspections of lodgings and restaurants.
- AAA drafts model act on highway beautification, the Uniform Act for Roadside Development and Control.
- AAA publishes a national parks book, the forerunner of the AAA Guide to National Parks.
- AAA develops the first brake reaction detonator and “instructo-car” for driver education.
- AAA commissions and publishes the most extensive study ever made of pedestrian safety for the purpose of reducing pedestrian fatalities and injuries.
- AAA introduces minimum standard requirements for clubs to operate as AAA travel offices, a step which eventually led to all AAA clubs serving as full-service travel agencies. AAA is now the largest leisure travel agency in the U.S.
- AAA urges cooperation between Canada and the U.S. for speedy construction of the Alaskan Highway.
- AAA goes on record against abuses in the field of automobile financing.
- AAA urges safety standards for operation of school buses.
- AAA holds its first Pedestrian Safety Contest and publishes Pedestrian Protection.
- AAA publishes its first edition of Motoring in the U.S.
- Membership passes 1 million.
- AAA publishes the first AAA driver education and training manual for high school teachers.
- AAA offers its services to the Advisory Commission of the Council of National Defense in anticipation of becoming involved in World War II. AAA President Thomas P. Henry is appointed consultant in the transportation unit of the Defense Council, and AAA pledges resources, including highway information, to national defense planning efforts.
- AAA becomes involved in conservation efforts due to wartime manufacturing reductions. AAA’s efforts include implementing the Keep ’em Rolling campaign, a conservation program to keep 20 million passenger cars in the U.S. in service; recommending steps to be taken in the anticipation of a war-related tire/rubber shortage; and urging the manufacture of synthetic rubber.
- AAA continues wartime conservation efforts by urging motorists to reduce their driving speed to conserve fuel; backing a scrap rubber campaign; and testing and checking new automotive products because of shortages and discontinued automobile manufacturing.
- AAA assists in the war effort by placing its mapping facilities at the disposal of the U.S. Army and publishing School Transportation in Wartime.
- AAA is involved, through the Contest Board, in the cancellation of the Indianapolis 500 and all other races for the duration of World War II.
- AAA publishes a new defensive driving book.
- AAA trains bus drivers on school routes.
- AAA signs its first national sales agreement with an airline, American Airlines.
- AAA is named an official issuer of the Inter-American Driving Permit (IADP), which allows U.S. citizens to drive in countries in Central and South America, during the Organization of American States Convention on Regulation of Inter-American Automotive Traffic in Washington, D.C.
- AAA continues wartime efforts such as: issuing public policy statements on the conservation of automobile stock, the rubber situation, tires and highways; conducting motor pool driver education; securing an order from the War Production Board to stop the sale of damaging anti-freeze solutions; launching a campaign to alleviate a growing shortage of auto mechanics and monitoring tire and gasoline rationing.
- AAA standardizes its travel departments and the selection and training of travel counselors.
- AAA acts to ease a mechanic shortage by nationalizing its New England Plan, a project involving maintenance, coordinating and increasing national automobile mechanic manpower resources. The plan is first put into operation by the Boston Automobile Club and includes draft deferment, the transfer of mechanics from war plants to garages and release of men from the armed forces for garage service.
- AAA sponsors a cross-country tour featuring cars equipped with synthetic tires through the Keep ’em Rolling campaign, which proves the reliability of tires made with synthetic rubber.
- AAA establishes, in cooperation with the Red Cross and military hospitals, a driver training program for veterans with artificial limbs.
- AAA holds the first Traffic Safety poster contest as a way to reward students for combining traffic safety messages with art. Clubs continue to host this contest.
- AAA gains permission from the Federal Communications (FCC) to use two-way radios to dispatch Emergency Road Service calls.
- AAA develops a new driving program to aid wounded veterans, releasing the film Traffic Jam Ahead, which outlines a practical program for postwar traffic safety and publishes Post-war Travel Trends as a public service.
- AAA launches a post-war national campaign for construction of a 40,000-mile interstate highway system.
- AAA begins the Take It Easy campaign to reduce traffic fatalities. Subsequently, fatalities drop 20 percent below the pre-war figure.
- Membership passes 2 million.
- AAA hosts the AAA School Safety Patrol parade in Washington, D.C., with General Dwight D. Eisenhower as honorary marshal.
- AAA conducts a campaign to expose the gray market in new and used cars.
- AAA establishes the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.
- AAA publishes a completely new driver education textbook for high school students (keeping the original title, Sportsmanlike Driving.)
- AAA becomes a member of Federacion Interamericana de Touring y Automovil Clubes (FITAC), an international organization of auto clubs.
- AAA produces The Safest Way, a film for elementary school children about safety. The film wins first place in its category from the National Committee on Films for Safety. It also wins a commendation from the U.S. State Department as an example of democracy at work.
- AAA publishes the largest highway map ever made of the U.S. at the time — 67″ x 100″. The cost to draft the map is $20,000.
- AAA drafts a broad program of action, urging stepped-up construction of the national system of interstate highways. Much of this program is incorporated in the 1948 Federal Aid Highway Act.
- AAA Travel Agency Services offers the first AAA-escorted tours through.
- AAA presents the first Gold Lifesaving Medals to AAA School Safety Patrollers in recognition of their heroic acts.
- AAA establishes the first border office for the International Travel department in Brownsville, Texas.
- AAA Is authorized by the U.S. State Department at the U.N. Convention on International Road Traffic in Geneva, Switzerland, to serve as one of two organizations that can issue the International Driving Permit (IDP) to U.S. citizens planning to drive in Europe, Asia and Australia. AAA continues to issue these permits for only $10. However, there is a growing trend on the Internet is to sell fraudulent IDPs (using a different name) to unsuspecting motorists for as much as $300.
- Membership passes 3 million.
- AAA opens offices in Paris and Rome.
- AAA publishes Your Driving Costs pamphlet for the first time. This annual pamphlet scrutinizes costs of owning and operating an automobile, as well as some vacation expenses. Lodging and meal costs for a family of four total $13 per day.
- AAA pledges greatly increased facilities and resources to the National Defense Department for the duration of the Korean War.
- AAA assists the United Press in scripting the weekly radio show. Calling All Drivers. The show focuses on travel, cars, highway conditions, safe driving practices and motoring customs.
- AAA campaigns to limit axle loads to 18,000 pounds to protect highways from damage by trucks. Congress begins imposing limits on truck size and weight five years later. AAA continues to campaign for responsible use of the highway system by heavy trucks.
- AAA opposes hauling explosives on highways without adequate regulation. AAA eventually wins a major victory in 1954.
- AAA celebrates its 50th birthday and the U.S. Postal Service issues a commemorative AAA stamp.
- AAA publishes a booklet on vehicle controls for disabled persons.
- AAA launches Safest Route to School program through the Traffic Safety department to encourage parents and children to use safe pedestrian habits when walking to school.
- AAA is instrumental in securing ratification of the treaty that brought the International Driving Permit (IDP) into existence by the U.S.
- AAA publishes Fill ’er Up, a history of motoring in America by Bellamy Partridge, through McGraw-Hill, in celebration of AAA’s Golden Jubilee.
- Membership passes 4 million.
- AAA calls the Highway Emergency Conference to bring attention to the inadequacy of the nation’s streets and highways in handling the mounting traffic volume. Clubs from 34 states are represented. The Traffic Safety department issues Traffic Tune-Up, advice on solving urban traffic problems.
- AAA requests that auto manufacturers de-emphasize speed in selling their cars. After a four-year campaign by AAA, the Automobile Manufacturers Association agrees to omit all references to speed and horsepower in product claims.
- AAA is instrumental in the passage of the 1954 Federal-Aid Highway Act. For the first time, substantial funding is earmarked for the national system of interstate highways.
- AAA urges insurance companies to give discounts to young drivers who complete school driver education courses.
- Membership reaches 5 million.
- AAA disbands its Contest Board and withdraws from sanctioning auto racing.
- AAA is largely responsible for passage of the 1956 Federal-Aid Highway Act, the most ambitious public works program in the nation’s history. It follows on the president’s proposal to spend $50 billion on a 10-year highway construction program, the basis for establishment of the Highway Trust Fund.
- AAA makes a grant to Columbia University Teachers College through the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety for the scientific study of traffic safety.
- AAA establishes an accommodations inspection program in Europe.
- AAA campaigns to regulate outdoor advertising along the interstate highway system. Regulations are imposed a year later.
- AAA publishes How to Drive, the first driving instruction book for adults.
- AAA film Two Sleeping Lions wins National Committee on Films for Safety award through the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.
- AAA distributes more than 100 million copies of TourBook® guides and maps to members.
- Membership reaches 6 million.
- AAA publishes the Planned Pedestrian Program, a comprehensive study of tested and proven techniques for saving pedestrian lives, through the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.
- AAA exhibits driver training equipment at international trade fairs in Africa, Yugoslavia and Turkey.
- AAA establishes an accommodations inspection program in the Orient, Mid-East and Far East.
- AAA sponsors the first electronic traffic control conference through the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.
- AAA combines and publishes TourBook® guides and Accommodations Directories in nine volumes.
- AAA is represented on TV program U.S. Steel Hour when comedian Buster Keaton follows AAA’s Official Camping Guide instructions to prepare for a camping trip.
- AAA wins an award from the National Association of Travel Organizations for its cooperation in Visit the USA Year proclaimed by President Eisenhower.
- AAA outlines its five-year plan for safety to the President’s Committee for Traffic Safety.
- Membership passes 7 million.
- AAA adds locations of speed traps to detour and construction maps.
- AAA publishes its first world map and seven maps of European countries. AAA Travel Guide to the Mid-East and Orient supersedes Motoring in North Africa and the Mid-East. Its expanded coverage includes AAA inspected hotels, restaurants and attractions.
- Membership reaches 8 million.
- AAA adopts a rating system for TourBook® guide accommodations listings, which becomes the Diamond Rating System in 1976. The fall 1963-1964 Florida and Southeastern TourBook guides are the first to carry these ratings. A rating system had been discussed since the 1930s, and descriptive words had been used to impart valuable information to the reader; however, the 1963 books carried ratings in five specific categories: Outstanding, Excellent, Very Good, Good and Satisfactory.
- AAA publishes West Indies travel guide presently known as the Caribbean TravelBook®, the New York World’s Fair booklet and its first Guide to European Restaurants.
- AAA defeats a proposal that would not allow motorists to deduct state gas taxes on federal income tax returns. In 1976, AAA again helped defeat a similar proposal.
- Funded by AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, research to study approaches to combating the drunken driving problem continues, resulting in the First a Friend, Then a Host program.
- AAA film about the Washington, D.C., beltway, The 60 Minute Circle wins a gold medal at the International Film and TV festival in New York.
- AAA publishes Teaching Driver and Traffic Safety Education, a textbook for college students.
- President Paul R. Gingher represents AAA on a new National Advisory Committee on Highway Beautification.
- Membership reaches 10 million.
- AAA helps draft the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 1966, setting safety standards for automobiles, tires and equipment.
- AAA drafts the Highway Safety Act, specifying standards for motor vehicle inspection and registration; motorcycle safety; driver education; driver licensing; traffic courts; highway design, construction and maintenance; and traffic control devices.
- AAA hosts the first U.S. meeting of the Congress & General Assembly of the Alliance Internationale de Tourism, an international organization of auto clubs.
- AAA develops programs for educational television.
- AAA begins inspecting privately owned campgrounds.
- AAA cooperates with the U.S. Department of Justice in development of National Auto Theft Campaign, a public education program to reduce car thefts.
- AAA begins providing traveler’s checks in a national program with First National Citibank. The checks bear the AAA imprint. This is the first such arrangement between a bank and a private organization.
- Automobile Club of Michigan begins Bring ’em Back Alive program aimed at making holidays safer. The program is adopted by other clubs and becomes a national initiative in 1968.
- Auto Club of Missouri opens first automotive diagnostic center designed to troubleshoot car problems.
- AAA announces ETV Driver Training Films, 30 half-hour programs produced by AAA and South Carolina ETV.
- AAA initiates a big trucks campaign and uses newspaper advertising to help defeat a bill that would have increased size and weight limits on trucks.
- AAA publishes its first Citibook (for New York City) and ski maps.
- AAA founds AAA Life Insurance Co.
- AAA signs agreement with International Reservation Corp. for a nationwide computer reservation system linking a network of hotels, motels and car rental agencies.
- AAA launches DWI Counterattack, a rehabilitation program for motorists convicted of driving while intoxicated.
- AAA establishes an Environmental Affairs department to define environmental problems related to motoring and explore solutions.
- AAA publishes four regional European Travel Guides.
- AAA creates a new strip map system. Four-page, fold-over maps about the size of the current strip maps are produced, reducing the total number of maps from 1,700 to 600.
- AAA helps win fight to repeal the federal excise tax on automobiles.
- AAA opposes use of toll bridge funds for non-motoring purposes, and the Federal Highway Administration sets a legal precedent when it rules against such practices.
- AAA signs an agreement with Hertz to make rental cars available to overseas travelers through AAA travel agencies.
- AAA becomes the official travel and ticket agent for the Summer Olympics in Munich, Germany.
- AAA DWI Counterattack is used as the model for the first DWI school offered by Charleston, West Virginia judiciary.
- Membership reaches 15 million.
- AAA issues an extensive report, When Politics and Safety Mix—The Selling of the Air Bag, an investigative look at merits of the airbag in passenger cars.
- AAA successfully opposes wider buses on highways.
- AAA initiates a weekly Fuel Gauge Report during the Arab oil embargo to advise motorists on gasoline availability, prices and service station hours. After the oil embargo, AAA continues to report gasoline prices during holidays.
- AAA National Office moved to Falls Church, Virginia.
- AAA meets with President Gerald Ford in the Oval Office to discuss the gas situation.
- AAA publishes a unique instruction manual for towing foreign-made automobiles, and three years later publishes a similar manual for American-made autos. Publication of these manuals results in an agreement among many automakers that towability would be considered in the design of future cars.
- AAA serves on the Federal Energy Administration’s newly created Consumer Affairs and Special Impact Advisory Committee.
- Membership reaches 17 million.
- AAA launches the Gas Watchers program with the endorsement of President Ford. The first Gas Watchers Guide is published. The program outlines easy steps motorists can take to conserve gasoline in their daily driving.
- AAA develops the Approved Auto Repair program to help identify competent, reliable repair facilities. The pilot program starts in Washington, D.C., and Central Florida.
- AAA publishes its first Handicapped Drivers Mobility Guide.
- AAA pioneers a safety program, Pre-school Children in Traffic, aimed at reducing pedestrian fatalities among children under age six.
- AAA testifies before the Department of Transportation on the airbag controversy, suggesting that the federal government fleet-test the costly devices before mandating their installation in new cars.
- AAA changes the rating system for TourBook® guide accommodations listings to the Diamond Rating System.
- AAA adds attraction discounts to TourBook® guides.
- AAA fights and defeats a proposal that would have disallowed motorists from deducting state gas taxes on federal income tax returns, having helped defeat a similar proposal in 1964.
- AAA presents the Mexican government with proposals to ensure the safety of travelers after a number of incidents involving American citizens.
- Membership reaches 20 million.
- AAA introduces junior high school alcohol awareness program through the Traffic Engineering and Safety Department.
- AAA provides towing services for 5 million vehicles in one year.
- AAA joins with VISA to develop a new credit card program for AAA members. AAA’s is the oldest affinity credit card program in the country.
- AAA begins providing the Fuel Gauge Report monthly.
- AAA President James B. Creal receives White House appointment to the National Alcohol Fuels Commission.
- Automobile Club of New York AAA conducts a gasohol test to determine the utility of the fuel. In test vehicles, gasohol not only improves gas mileage, but caused no engine problems.
- AAA develops a Driver Improvement Program, which is implemented fleet-wide by the U.S. Navy.
- AAA records 15.6 million Emergency Road Service calls nationwide.
- AAA gears up for oil shortage caused by Iranian hostage situation. AAA President James B. Creal chairs the gasoline rationing task force and serves on issue identification task force. He is also appointed to President Carter’s National Council on Energy Efficiency. AAA representatives serving on the president’s Alcohol Fuels Commission are requested to sign the Energy Securities Act of 1980.
- AAA begins noting properties in TourBook® guides that provide easier access for handicapped persons.
- AAA changes the title of The Campground Directory to AAA CampBook™.
- AAA introduces AAA SUPERNUMBER® (800-AAA-HELP), a toll-free emergency information service for members traveling outside their home club area. After a test period, the service is launched nationwide the next year.
- AAA begins including life safety procedures in TourBook® guides for lodging fire emergency situations. AAA requirements for accommodations include fire safety provisions.
- AAA introduces Autograph program for evaluating new cars. This becomes the basis for a new guide, Autograph.
- AAA is represented by AAA President James B. Creal on the Industries Advisory Board of Congressional Travel and Tourism Caucus.
- AAA launches AAA World magazine to replace American Motorist. The new magazine is produced at the AAA National Office and distributed by as many as 17 clubs over the next 16 years.
- AAA combines its two instruction manuals for towing foreign-made and American-made vehicles into a single authoritative guide.
- AAA introduces the Starting Early program, a new alcohol education program for elementary school-age children with seven teaching modules, one for each grade, kindergarten through grade 6.
- AAA launches an infant/child car safety seat program.
- AAA creates a Financial Services Department to administer the AAA/VISA credit card program, a travelers checks operation and AAA/U.S. government money market account.
- AAA identifies scenic highways on AAA sheet maps for the first time. Scenic highway designations become an integral part of AAA mapping and are included on all AAA maps, including Internet TripTik® routings.
- AAA offers an airline default protection plan through travel agencies in response to travel agent and public concern over the precarious financial position of certain air carriers.
- AAA begins identifying lodging properties in TourBook® guides that feature room smoke alarms/sprinklers.
- AAA publishes the AAA North American Road Atlas. It is the first AAA atlas to use all AAA maps and not the imprint of another mapping company. A year later, it is sold at retail outlets and makes the New York Times best-seller paperback list.
- AAA begins co-sponsoring the Plymouth/AAA Trouble-Shooting Contest for aspiring auto mechanics. The contest is designed to assist high school students in developing auto repair skills, increase interest in the auto repair industry and encourage opportunities in auto repair for students.
- AAA begins designating restaurants that provide non-smoking sections in TourBook® guides; a comprehensive list is included in 1985 TourBook® guides.
- AAA has the largest number of accredited retail travel agency locations in the U.S., and travel agency sales exceed $1 billion.
- AAA begins a one-year pilot project, On-line Touring Information System (OTIS).
- AAA works with the Coalition to Halt Auto Theft to achieve passage of the Motor Vehicle Theft Law Enforcement Act of 1984.
- AAA expands AAA SUPERNUMBER® (800-AAA-HELP) toll-free emergency information service into Canada.
- AAA launches the Fred Flintstone All-American Buckle Up campaign concurrently with national safety education to promote use of seat belts and infant/child car safety seats.
- AAA wins an award in a JC Penney Co. competition for accomplishments in launching or expanding programs to aid handicapped persons.
- AAA is honored for publishing the Handicapped Drivers Mobility Guide, including a handicapped symbol in TourBook® guides and developing its adaptive equipment vehicle testing program, which tests ease of use of vehicles modified for those with disabilities. AAA also launches a pilot program for advanced driver training for disabled drivers.
- AAA sees the U.S. Air Force implement the AAA Driver Improvement Program on a worldwide basis. DIP is already in use by Navy and Marine Corps personnel.
- AAA wins a Presidential Citation Award for Private Sector Initiatives, which honors outstanding volunteer projects for the AAA School Safety Patrol Program and Lifesaving Medal Award.
- AAA launches the Full Service Pledge program, which asks service stations to guarantee that full-service customers will receive a minimum of five automotive maintenance checks every time they get gas.
- AAA receives recognition when President Ronald Reagan honors Shelby L. Butler, a recipient of AAA’s School Safety Patrol Lifesaving Medal from St. Joseph, Missouri, in his State of the Union Address. She is the first patroller to be so honored.
- AAA is designated a certified frequency coordinator in its automobile emergency radio service spectrum by the Federal Communications Commission.
- AAA offers TripAssist, a 24-hour emergency service providing medical, legal and transportation services to international travelers.
- AAA helps defeat 10-cent per gallon federal gasoline tax.
- AAA participates in Transportation 2020, a group of public and private organizations formed to assess long-term highway needs.
- AAA provides On-line Touring Information System (OTIS) to all AAA clubs.
- AAA supports a law authorizing the federal government to spend $87.5 billion over a five-year period to complete the interstate highway system.
- AAA focuses legislative efforts on the Truck & Bus Safety Regulatory Reform Act of 1988, requiring interstate drivers and equipment to meet federal safety regulations. The act is signed into law in November.
- AAA combines On-line Touring Information System (OTIS) with other automated services under the name AAA Travel Match.
- Membership passes 31 million.
- AAA reverses a long-standing policy against toll roads in order to explore the use of impact fees as alternative financing.
- AAA moves the AAA National Office from Falls Church, Virginia to Heathrow, Florida, near Orlando.
- AAA joins the Federal Highway Administration, Avis, General Motors and the Florida Department of Transportation in the Smart Car experiment, also known as the TravTek Project. This test of a computerized in-car navigation and travel information system proves consumer acceptance of telematics technology that would make driving easier and reduce traffic congestion.
- AAA publishes AAA Travel Activity Book, the official AAA TourBook® guide for kids.
- AAA begins offering a cellular phone program to members.
- AAA expands its city map program by adding 69 new titles.
- AAA launches Freedom’s Way, a new volunteer action program, to protect America’s environment and motorists’ freedom of mobility, as a response to concern about congestion and overcrowding in national parks and other public lands.
- AAA wins the grand award for quality commercial landscape maintenance in the Environmental Improvement Awards competition of the Associated Landscape Contractors of America.
- AAA begins nationwide radio broadcasting of the weekly Car Care Minute. Listeners receive basic car care tips from AAA Automotive Engineering and Road Services.
- AAA makes Travel Weekly’s Top 50 Travel Agencies list when Auto Club South, based in Tampa, Florida, is recognized. In subsequent years, AAA club travel agencies continue to be ranked on this list by total sales.
- AAA implements a toll-free, touch-tone service for ordering TripTik® routing maps over the phone.
- AAA continues co-sponsoring an annual auto skills contest, which changes name to Chrysler/AAA Troubleshooting Contest, for high school students.
- AAA begins testing TravelMatch Express in Florida. The self-service terminal works like an ATM, with rotating menus and touch-control screens that allow users to obtain local travel information.
- Membership passes 35 million.
- AAA receives a certificate of excellence from the Public Relations Society of America for AAA Potomac’s carjacking reward program.
- AAA has Diamond-rated properties listed in the OAG, Official Airline Guide business travel planner.
- AAA wins four awards of excellence from PBS for a travel video series that began in 1991.
- AAA publishes the first Spanish-language edition of the AAA Mexico TravelBook® guide.
- Membership reaches 36 million.
- AAA teams with Walt Disney World to open the Ocala Travel Center in Ocala, Florida. Just off I-75, the center provides membership and services including theme park tickets, hotels, TripTik® routings and services for nonmembers.
- AAA receives a record-setting number of calls, almost 200,000, through SUPERNUMBER during the first three weeks of January due to extreme cold, heavy snow and icy conditions in many areas of the country.
- AAA publishes the AAA Guide to National Parks, which becomes the No. 1 seller in its category on Amazon.com four years later.
- AAA provides members the option to order TripTik® routing maps over the Internet.
- AAA continues co-sponsorship of annual auto skills challenge, now named AutoSkills and co-sponsored by Ford Motor Co.
- Robert L. Darbelnet is named president and CEO of AAA.
- AAA publishes the brochure, Flying Alone: Handy Advice for Kids Traveling Solo, which becomes the most-requested free AAA brochure.
- AAA launches AAA Financial Services Corp., a new company owned by the AAA National Office and clubs. In partnership with banks, FSC provides financial products and services to AAA members including mortgages, home equity loans, CDs, credit cards and auto loans. Five years later, FSC becomes a department of the AAA National Office and continues to provide financial products and services to members.
- AAA changes the name of national AAA World magazine to Car & Travel.
- AAA introduces Teaching Teens to Drive, a new driver’s education program focusing on parent involvement in teen driving education.
- AAA kicks off Crisis Ahead: America’s Aging Highways and Airways campaign, which leads to AAA helping shape two pieces of landmark legislation: the Transportation Equity Act for the 21 Century (TEA-21) in 1998 and the Aviation Investment and Reform Act for the 21st Century (AIR-21) in 2000. Both laws embrace the principle that user fees charged to motorists and air travelers should be fully invested in improving and modernizing the nation’s surface and air transportation infrastructures.
- AAA begins the Community Traffic Safety Program, an expansion of AAA’s Pedestrian Protection Program, focusing on traffic enforcement, engineering, school safety and public information.
- AAA releases Map ’n’ Go, a computer program for a new travel and mapping tool created by AAA and the map-making firm DeLorme. The software receives critical acclaim in many publications.
- AAA signs an agreement with Thomas Cook Group Ltd. to create the travel industry’s largest travel alliance operation. The alliance continues until 1999.
- AAA begins offering AAA Financial Services Corp. products and services through PNC Bank.
- Membership reaches 40 million.
- AAA joins with Chrysler and the American Academy of Pediatrics to produce the brochure ABCs of Airbag Safety, a guide for parents on how to keep their children safe when riding in a car with airbags.
- AAA produces Road Rage: How to Avoid Aggressive Driving brochure through the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.
- AAA launches Licensed to Learn, a campaign to increase awareness of the need for graduated driver licensing laws in every state.
- AAA releases Clearing the Air, an updated report on emission trends in major cities throughout the U.S.
- AAA launches the national website, AAA.com. Through this portal, users can access their local club’s website by entering their zip codes. Over the years, additional features are added to the site to further serve members.
- AAA unveils its new logo in a celebration at the AAA National Office in Heathrow, Florida. The new look keeps the traditional capital As in an oval and sports an orbit around the oval.
- AAA becomes the official tourist agency for EXPO 2000, the millennium World’s Fair in Hannover, Germany.
- AAA begins providing roadside assistance service for all General Motors divisions.
- AAA creates A Century of Public Service brochure to communicate the history of AAA’s public policy activities to members and the general public.
- AAA produces its first city map using Geographic Information System (GIS) digital database technology, the AAA Metro Atlanta Citimap.
- AAA is named the Clinton administration’s No. 1 traffic safety partner by U.S. Transportation Secretary Rodney Slater.
- AAA implements Battery Assist mobile battery testing and delivery service in four clubs, which enables service vehicle drivers diagnosing battery failure to install replacement batteries at the scene when members request the service.
- AAA discontinues the national publication Car & Travel, and the Automobile Club of New York obtains rights to the name and begins publishing Car & Travel Monthly.
- AAA lobbies heavily for passage of the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21).
- AAA encourages more widespread student AutoSkills competition by introducing an international champion trophy.
- AAA partners with NHTSA to produce New Car Safety Features brochure.
- AAA launches AAA NewsRoom. The website, designed for media use, contains news releases, fact sheets and other information about AAA. The website and media kit announcing its launch win awards from the Florida Public Relations Association.
- AAA introduces a new version of Traveling With Your Pet — The AAA PetBook®, which combines information from the previous four-edition set into one book covering North America and adds information on flying, crossing borders and national parks.
- AAA changes credit card partner from PNC Bank to MBNA America, when MNBA America purchases the AAA credit card portfolio.
- AAA introduces TripWizard, a hand-held travel companion that provides information on highway exits, lodgings, gas stations, restaurants and driving directions.
- AAA is represented in PC Computing magazine when the publication rates the AAA Financial Services Corp. website one of its five “Top Picks.”
- AAA forms RESPONSE Services Center, LLC, to launch state-of-the art telematics-enabled communications center in Columbia, Maryland. The company’s mission is to provide leading-edge, wireless mobile emergency assistance and travel information to AAA members via cell phones, digital pagers, hand-held computers and in-vehicle systems.
- AAA receives a public service award from NHTSA in appreciation of AAA’s leadership in the Child Passenger Safety Certification Program, which teaches how to properly install infant/child safety seats, and continued efforts in graduated driver licensing enactment.
- AAA testifies before three congressional committees regarding increased gasoline prices and lobbies to prevent Congress from repealing parts of the federal gasoline tax, which would have reduced Highway Trust Fund revenue without guaranteeing consumers any relief from high gas prices.
- AAA testifies before Congress and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration on proposed hours-of-service regulations for commercial truck drivers.
- AAA launches Share With Care, a new truck safety outreach initiative, the first national campaign to focus attention on the fact that both motorists and truckers are responsible for keeping the road safe.
- AAA participates in the U.S. Department of Transportation secretary’s Aviation Summit, during which AAA President and CEO Robert L. Darbelnet communicates AAA’s stand on the aviation crisis.
- AAA begins providing daily gasoline pricing reports through the AAA Daily Fuel Gauge Report, which includes a database of more than 200 metropolitan areas. Hits to the site reach one million in one month.
- AAA renames Autograph book, which evaluates new cars, the New Car & Truck Buying Guide.
- AAA signs a new agreement for financial product and services offerings with M&I Bank. AAA also dissolves AAA Financial Services Corp. and absorbs it into the AAA National Office.
- AAA initiates a four-year plan to generate AAA maps from a Geographic Information Systems (GIS) database and release new paper and electronic products from the same source. Conversion begins with vicinity and TourBook® guide maps.
- AAA provides Battery Assist mobile battery testing and delivery service through 14 clubs.
- AAA provides members the option of planning their own routings via the Internet TripTik® Travel Planner.
- AAA launches an Internet-based technician locator service exclusively for AAA Approved Auto Repair facilities.
- Membership passes 44 million.
- AAA publishes a new series of guide books called Barrier-Free Travel designed for the estimated 54 million Americans with disabilities.
- AAA publishes the first edition of The Ultimate Fan’s Guide to Pro Sports Travel, for fans travelling to different arenas and venues for sporting events, and North America the Beautiful by noted landscape photographer Galen Rowell.
- AAA signs a three-year agreement with General Motors to provide warranty roadside assistance services to GM new-car customers.
- AAA introduces an additional component to the annual AutoSkills contest, allowing Ford Master Technicians to compete against each other.
- AAA celebrates its centennial with the launch of Seated, Safe & Secure, a child passenger safety campaign to help reduce the number of children killed or injured in vehicle crashes.
- AAA becomes co-sponsor of AAA Glidden Tour®, an annual antique automobile touring event that revives the original AAA Glidden Tours from 1905 to 1913.
- AAA launches Get There America campaign to promote increased funding for safety and mobility initiatives in the next federal transportation reauthorization.
- AAA sponsors a 20-year transportation exhibit, America on the Move, at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History.
- AAA launches Life-Long Safe Mobility, a campaign to help seniors stay safe and mobile. The campaign promotes solutions such as senior-friendly road design, screening tools, education for seniors and their families and supplemental transportation.
- Reader’s Digest highlights AAA transportation safety agenda, which focuses on the importance of road safety improvements, particularly for seniors.
- AAA releases scientific study on World Health Day regarding seat belt use among the Latino population. AAA national and club employees wear “’lectric lime” ribbons to commemorate the day.
- AAA testifies at congressional travel/tourism hearing focused on security.
- AAA re-enters auto racing as a sponsor of ISC-owned tracks.
- AAA launches Roadwise Review: A Tool to Help Seniors Drive Safely Longer. This computer-based screening tool enables older drivers, in the privacy of their own homes, to identify and address physiological changes that could affect driving.
- AAA serves on White House Conference on Aging, and two transportation-related resolutions are adopted by the conference.
- AAA advocates for changes in EPA procedures to establish mileage ratings for new cars to make the estimates more accurate and reflective of real-world driving experiences. As a result, the EPA revises its testing measures.
- AAA testifies before State Energy and Natural Resources Committee on gasoline prices post-Hurricane Katrina.
- AAA participates in events commemorating the 50th anniversary of the interstate highway system.
- AAA testifies before the House Committee on Commerce and Energy about rising gas prices.
- AAA provides research to EPA to support changes to the fuel economy labeling process for new vehicles, providing American consumers with more accurate information when shopping for cars and trucks.
- AAA makes a three-year commitment to sponsor Roush Racing’s Number 6 car on the NASCAR Nextel Circuit.
- Membership reaches 50 million.
- AAA teams with national first responder groups launch Slow Down, Move Over, a national initiative to encourage motorists to be more cautious when passing any type of emergency vehicle parked on the roadside. The initiative includes an effort to have Move Over laws passed in all 50 states regarding all forms of emergency vehicles — police, fire, ambulance and roadside assistance.
- AAA releases research report, Smart Features for Mature Drivers, at the New York International Auto Show. The research is conducted in partnership with the University of Florida’s National Older Driver Research & Training Center.
- AAA celebrates 80 years of national traffic safety programs, which have helped teach generations of children and adults how to be safer drivers and protect them from crashes.
- AAA honors the efforts of all who worked to improve child passenger safety standards and increase use of child safety seats on the 30th anniversary of the first state child passenger safety law. AAA encourages the traffic safety community to push for stronger, consistent legislation in all states and remain committed to educating the public on the importance of child passenger safety.
- AAA launches its first mobile application, AAA Roadside, enabling members to request roadside assistance via smartphone. The application sends their GPS location, membership details, vehicle information and more directly to AAA Roadside Assistance.
- AAA calls on the EPA to reject a petition that would increase the permissible content of ethanol blended in gasoline to 15 percent, or E15, from 10 percent, commonly known as E10. AAA cites its support of alternative fuels but points out concerns about the effect of E15 on engine systems and component parts, vehicle performance and fuel efficiency, or increased vehicle emissions.
- AAA releases its first list of top vehicles for new technology, highlighting safety, performance, comfort and environmentally friendly technologies.
- AAA announces the launch of DUIJusticeLink.com, a website created for criminal justice professionals. The site compiles DUI-related resources including state laws, up-to-date statistics and academic research reports.
- AAA launches AAASeniors.com, a web resource for seniors and families of older drivers. The site offers content and resources based on extensive research.
- AAA announces that it will work to pass laws banning text messaging by drivers in all 50 states by 2013. AAA and the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety launch legislative and communications campaigns to reduce distracted driving and improve safety on U.S. roadways.
- Membership reaches 52 million.
- AAA releases the 60th edition of its annual Your Driving Costs study on the cost to own and operate a vehicle in the U.S. The study finds average expenses to own and operate a sedan in the U.S. is 56.6 cents per mile, or $8,487 per year based on driving it 15,000 miles annually.
- AAA celebrates 90 years of keeping children safe on the way to school through the AAA School Safety Patrol. The program grows to include 585,000 members in 30,000 schools across the U.S.
- AAA launches Keys2Drive at TeenDriving.AAA.com, an interactive teen driver safety website that provides parents and teens specific information based on where they live and where they are in the learning process – from preparing to drive (pre-permit) through the learner’s permit and solo driving stages.
- AAA launches the AAA Insurance app, which walks users through the post-crash process of collecting photos and information and requesting a tow truck.
- AAA provides 40 eTourBooks guides that sync with top e-readers, tablets and smartphones equipped with an e-reader app. Each of the new guides highlights a top North American travel destination.
- AAA releases an analysis that finds that seven of the top 10 deadliest days for teen drivers occur during the summer. AAA offers a list of tips for parents to help keep their teens safe.
- AAA teams with the League of American Bicyclists to promote bike safety to adult cyclists, children and motorists. AAA also partners with NHTSA to launch the Roll Model campaign on bike safety and is featured in a post on NHTSA’s Fast Lane blog for its efforts to make cycling safer.
- AAA teams with King Features Syndicate and Zits comic strip to raise awareness of the danger of teen texting while driving.
- AAA provides its first list of top “green” vehicles noted for their new technology or significantly reduced carbon dioxide emission that make the vehicles increasingly more fuel efficient.
- AAA adds frequently updated gasoline prices to its TripTik® Mobile app, so users can find the cheapest gas near their location.
- AAA launches new AAA Member Rewards Visa® credit card with Bank of America.