1930-1939

1930

Loses more than 300,000 members between 1930 and 1935 during the Great Depression.

Formulates a taxation program, assuring equity to automobile owners and opposing federal government involvement in motor vehicle taxation.

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.

Urges a road-building program for relief of unemployed.

Publishes the first issue of Holiday magazine.

About this time

The U.S., Britain, Japan, France and Italy sign a naval disarmament treaty. Nazis gain in German elections.

1931

Becomes a member of FIA (Federation of Internationale de l’Automobile), an international organization of auto clubs.

About this time

Spain’s King Alfonso XIII is overthrown, and the country becomes a republic. Al Capone is sentenced to 11 years in prison for tax evasion.

1932

Trademarks the TripTik® routing map. These detailed, customized routing maps have changed little throughout the years.

Suffers through the same tough decisions many companies face during the worst years of the Depression in 1932 and 1933; consequently, salaries are cut 10 percent to 12 percent and resigning employees are not replaced.

Urges universal adoption of the Guest Suit Law, which limits liability of the driver for injuries suffered by passengers being transported free.

Debuts the Bridge and Ferry Directory, helping motorists decrease their travel time.

About this time

Amelia Earhart is the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean. Aviator Charles Lindbergh’s son is kidnapped.

1933

Conducts tests which show that blending alcohol with gasoline produces a less efficient and more costly motor fuel. These tests are conducted in Washington, D.C., so that Congress can view them. On the same day the tests are conducted, a bill is introduced in Congress that would have required the federal government to spend millions on blending alcohol and gasoline. The bill is defeated.

About this time

Adolph Hitler is appointed German chancellor and receives dictatorial powers. Chicago Mayor Anton Cermak is fatally shot in an assassination attempt on then president-elect Franklin D. Roosevelt.

1934

Is involved in the origins of driver education as 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, Pa.

About this time

The Dionne sisters, the first quintuplets to survive beyond infancy, are born.

1935

Pioneers high school driver education and publishes Sportsmanlike Driving, the first course outline for teachers.

About this time

President Franklin D. Roosevelt opens the second phase of the New Deal, calling for social security, better housing, equitable taxation and farm assistance. Gov. Huey Long is assassinated in Louisiana.

1936

After the worst years of the Depression pass, membership starts growing again.

Makes Emergency Road Service (ERS) a mandatory service for all AAA-affiliated clubs.

Drafts Bill of Rights for Motorists that would assure full and free use of the automobile with a maximum of safety and economy. It also calls for standardized highway signs and markings on all federal-aid highways.

Publishes “The Driver” and “The Driver and Pedestrian Responsibilities,” the first driver education pamphlets in the Sportsmanlike Driving series for use in high schools. Altogether there are five pamphlets in the series, which are bound together and titled Sportsmanlike Driving the next year.

Sponsors the first Teachers’ Training Course in Driver Education at Pennsylvania State College, which is taught by Amos Neyhart; inaugurates the first driver testing program with a grant from the Automotive Safety Foundation; and uses the first dual control cars for AAA club-sponsored driver education courses.

Begins pedestrian safety program with a grant from the Automotive Safety Foundation.

About this time

In Great Britain, King George V dies and is succeeded by his son, Edward VIII, who abdicates to marry an American divorcee and is succeeded by his brother, George VI. The Spanish Civil War begins. War between Japan and China begins.

1937

Begins field inspections of lodgings and restaurants.

Drafts model act on highway beautification, the Uniform Act for Roadside Development and Control.

Publishes a national parks book, the forerunner of the AAA Guide to National Parks, which was first published in 1994.

Develops the first brake reaction detonator and “instructo-car” for driver education.

About this time

Amelia Earhart is lost somewhere over the Pacific Ocean on an around-the-world flight. Adolph Hitler repudiates the war guilt clause of the Versailles Treaty. Italy withdraws from the League of Nations.

1938

Commissions and publishes the most extensive study ever made of pedestrian safety for the purpose of reducing pedestrian fatalities and injuries.

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. With nearly 1,100 travel agency offices across North America, AAA is the largest leisure travel agency in the U.S.

About this time

Germany marches into Austria and proclaims the political and geographic union of the two countries. Douglas “Wrong Way” Corrigan flies from New York to Dublin.

1939

Urges cooperation between Canada and the U.S. for speedy construction of the Alaskan Highway.

Goes on record against abuses in the field of automobile financing.

Urges safety standards for operation of school buses.

Holds its first Pedestrian Safety Contest and publishes Pedestrian Protection.

Publishes its first edition of Motoring in the U.S.

About this time

World War II begins when Germany invades Poland. President Franklin D. Roosevelt submits a $1.3 million defense budget, proclaims U.S. neutrality and declares a limited emergency. Albert Einstein writes Roosevelt about the feasibility of an atomic bomb. The New York World’s Fair opens.

Podcasts

B-Roll

YouTube Videos

AAA Senior Driver Expos

NewsRoom Video Gallery

Media: Find and Download AAA Videos and B Roll.