ORLANDO, Fla. --- This week marks the 80th anniversary of the establishment of AAA's national traffic safety programs, which have helped teach generations of children and adults how to be safer drivers and protect them from crashes.
AAA has been a pioneer in national traffic safety initiatives beginning with the establishment of its national traffic safety department in 1928.
"AAA is committed to the safety and security of motorists, pedestrians, cyclists and children," said Robert L. Darbelnet, president and CEO of AAA. "Over the past 80 years AAA has been at the forefront in the development of programs to protect our members and the traveling public."
Since the AAA School Safety Patrol started in 1920 and the first driver training was developed in 1935, AAA's legacy of traffic safety programs has continued and grown. Through the years, AAA has added programs to address important issues such as child passenger safety, teen and senior driver safety, seatbelt usage and air bag safety.
Today, AAA offers a wide array of traffic safety programs to address the issues affecting its more than 51 million members as well as other drivers across North America, including:
-- Driver Education --- AAA offers driver improvement programs for drivers at all levels of experience, from pre-permit and novice drivers to mature operators. AAA also provides parents instruction and guidance on teaching their teens to drive, as well as a network of approved driving schools.
-- Child Passenger Safety --- AAA is a strong advocate for child passenger safety and has a long-term commitment to reducing injuries and deaths through its "Seated, Safe & Secure" campaign initiated in 2002. Through the initiative, AAA has worked to close loopholes in child restraint laws across the nation and educate the public about proper use of child restraints. AAA clubs have also been active in local communities promoting child passenger safety.
-- Senior Mobility --- AAA launched its "Lifelong Safety Mobility" initiative in 2003 to address the mobility needs of the country's growing senior population. Since then, AAA has developed a suite of senior programs as part of the initiative. AAA Roadwise Review is a computer-based screening which allows seniors to measure in the privacy of their own home the eight functional abilities shown to be the strongest predictors of crash risk among older drivers. CarFit, an educational program developed by the American Society on Aging in collaboration with AAA, AARP and the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA), helps mature drivers find out how well they "fit" with their vehicles, and what actions might be taken to improve their fit. AAA's Smart Features for Mature Drivers educates on a broad range of vehicle features that help address health issues frequently faced by seniors, such as arthritic hands, diminished vision and loss of upper body strength.
-- In-School Programs ---- AAA offers several in-school traffic safety programs, including the AAA School Safety Patrol program and National School Traffic Safety Poster program, which both date back more than 60 years. Each fall, AAA also conducts an annual School's Open --Drive Carefully public education campaign to remind motorists and students of the importance of school-zone safety.