1940-1949

1940

Membership passes 1 million.

Publishes the first AAA driver education and training manual for high school teachers.

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.

About this time

The Selective Service Act is signed. Soviet politician Leon Trotsky is assassinated in Mexico. The U.S. trades 50 destroyers for leases on British bases in the Western Hemisphere.

1941

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.

About this time

Pearl Harbor is attacked by Japan, and the U.S. and Great Britain declare war on Japan. Germany and Italy declare war on the U.S., and Congress declares war on Germany and Italy.

1942

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.

Assists in the war effort by placing its mapping facilities at the disposal of the U.S. Army department and publishing School Transportation in Wartime.

Is involved through the Contest Board when it cancels the Indianapolis 500 and all other races for the duration of World War II.

Publishes a new defensive driving book.

Trains bus drivers on school routes.

Signs its first national sales agreement with an airline, American Airlines.

About this time

Production of civilian passenger cars in the U.S. stops. President Roosevelt orders gas rationing and imposes a speed limit of 35 mph to conserve fuel. The Declaration of United Nations is signed in Washington, D.C.

1943

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.

Continues wartime efforts by making a public policy statement which takes a stand on government policies, conservation of automobile stock, the rubber situation, tires and highways. Also, conducts motor pool driver education, secures an order from the War Production Board that stops the sale of certain anti-freeze solutions harmful to motors, launches a campaign to alleviate a growing shortage of auto mechanics and monitors tire and gasoline rationing.

About this time

Income tax withholding introduced. President Roosevelt freezes prices, salaries and wages to prevent inflation.

1944

Standardizes its travel departments and the selection and training of travel counselors.

Acts to ease 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.

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.

Establishes, in cooperation with the Red Cross and military hospitals, a driver training program for veterans with artificial limbs.

About this time

The GI Bill of Rights is enacted. International Monetary Fund and World Bank are created.

1945

Holds the first Traffic Safety poster contest, which has been held by clubs every year since, as a way to reward students for combining traffic safety messages with art.

Begins using two-way radios to dispatch Emergency Road Service calls and is granted permission by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to do so for this purpose.

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.

About this time

Germany and Japan surrender.

1946

Launches a post-war national campaign for construction of a 40,000-mile interstate highway system.

Begins Take It Easy campaign to reduce traffic fatalities. Subsequently, fatalities drop 20 percent below the pre-war figure.

About this time

First meeting of U.N. General Assembly is held in London. Winston Churchill’s Iron Curtain speech warns of Soviet expansion.

1947

Membership passes 2 million.

Hosts AAA School Safety Patrol parade in Washington, D.C., and General Dwight D. Eisenhower serves as honorary marshal.

Conducts campaign to expose gray market in new and used cars.

Establishes AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.

Publishes a completely new driver education textbook for high school students but keeps the original title, Sportsmanlike Driving.

Becomes a member of Federacion Interamericana de Touring y Automovil Clubes (FITAC), an international organization of auto clubs.

About this time

The Truman Doctrine, the first significant U.S. attempt to contain communist expansion, is proposed.

1948

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.

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.

Drafts broad program of action, much of which is incorporated in the 1948 Federal Aid Highway Act, urging stepped-up construction of the national system of interstate highways.

Offers the first AAA-escorted tours through Travel Agency Services.

About this time

Mahatma Gandhi is assassinated in New Delhi. Israel becomes a nation. The Berlin Airlift begins.

1949

Presents the first Gold Lifesaving Medals to AAA School Safety Patrollers in recognition of their heroic acts.

Establishes first border office for International Travel department in Brownsville, Texas.

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.

About this time

Twelve nations sign a treaty forming the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). Communist People’s Republic of China is formally proclaimed by Chairman Mao Zedong.

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