AAA School Safety Patrol Celebrates 90 Years of Keeping Children Safe on the Way to School
WASHINGTON, D.C., April 16, 2010
Top AAA School Safety Patrol members travel to nation’s capital to mark 90th anniversary of the largest safety program in the world with 585,000 patrollers in 30,000 schools nationwide
The AAA School Safety Patrol will celebrate its 90th anniversary next week when the nation’s top patrollers are honored in Washington, D.C. The AAA School Safety Patrol is the largest safety program in the world, equipping patrollers with the skills and resources needed to ensure children commute to and from school safely.
From a Chicago tragedy springs the world’s largest safety program
AAA School Safety Patrol was founded in Chicago in 1920 by Charles M. Hayes, president of the Chicago Motor Club, after several children at a school crossing were killed by a speeding car. Horrified by the incident, Hayes pledged to help prevent such a tragedy from happening again. The first patrol was established with two dozen boys trained to assist students cross the road safely.
Today, the AAA School Safety Patrol includes 585,000 members in 30,000 schools across the U.S. To honor of Hayes’ vision and dedication, the AAA School Safety Patrol Charles M. Hayes Advancement Fund was established by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. Each year, the fund honors a patrol advisor of the year and provides grants to schools in need of assistance furthering their safety patrol programs.
Hundreds of lives saved
The AAA School Safety Patrol has been praised by education and safety groups around the world for reducing injuries and fatalities among school children age 5 to 14. In 1949, AAA established the AAA Lifesaving Medal to recognize the heroics of AAA School Safety Patrollers who saved a life during their patrol duties. Since then, AAA has documented 392 lives saved through the community service program.
The AAA Lifesaving Medal will be awarded to its most recent recipients next Wednesday during a ceremony in our nation’s capital.
A beginning for future leaders
The AAA School Safety Patrol not only contributes to reductions in pedestrian injuries and fatalities, but also helps develop leadership skills within its members. Many schools report the program provides students with an opportunity to develop self-confidence and a sense of responsibility, while earning respect and recognition from their peers, school administrators and community leaders. The program also encourages academic achievement and commitment to community involvement.
The AAA School Safety Patrol was a starting point for many of our nation’s leaders. Former AAA School Safety Patrol members include Presidents Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton, Vice President Joe Biden as well as several Supreme Court Justices, U.S. Senators, governors and U.S. Olympic gold medalists.
As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 51 million members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. AAA clubs can be visited on the Internet at AAA.com.