1970-1979

1970

Establishes Environmental Affairs department, which is designed to define environmental problems as they relate to motoring and suggest solutions.

Publishes four regional European Travel Guides.

Creates 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.

About this time

Rhodesia severs last tie with British Crown and declares itself a racially segregated republic. Four students at Kent State University in Ohio are slain by National Guardsmen at a demonstration protesting the April 30 incursion into Cambodia by the U.S.

1971

Wins fight to repeal the federal excise tax on automobiles.

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.

Signs an agreement with Hertz to make rental cars available to overseas travelers through AAA travel agencies.

Becomes the official travel and ticket agent for the Summer Olympics in Munich, Germany.

Sees advancement of drunken-driving education when AAA DWI Counterattack specifications are patterned by Charleston, W. Va., judiciary in its first DWI school.

About this time

The U.S. Supreme Court rules unanimously that busing of students may be ordered to achieve racial desegregation. U.N. seats Communist China and expels Nationalist China. The U.S. lowers the voting age to 18 by passing the 26th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

1972

Membership reaches 15 million.

Issues extensive report, When Politics and Safety Mix—The Selling of the Air Bag, an investigative look at merits of the airbag in passenger cars.

Successfully opposes wider buses on highways.

About this time

President Richard Nixon makes an unprecedented eight-day visit to Communist China. Gov. George C. Wallace of Alabama is shot at a political rally. Five men are apprehended in an attempt to bug Democratic National Committee headquarters in the Watergate Hotel, Washington, D.C., starting the Watergate scandal. The U.S. Supreme Court rules that the death penalty is unconstitutional.

1973

Initiates a weekly Fuel Gauge Report during the Arab oil embargo advising motorists on gasoline availability, prices and service station hours. After the oil embargo, AAA continues to report gasoline prices during holidays.

Moves AAA National Office to Falls Church, Va.

About this time

U.S. bombing of Cambodia ends, marking an official halt to the Vietnam War. In the “Saturday Night Massacre,” President Nixon fires special Watergate prosecutor Archibald Cox and Deputy Attorney General William D. Ruckelshaus; Attorney General Elliot L. Richardson resigns. Vice President Spiro T. Agnew resigns and pleads guilty to charges of income tax evasion.

1974

Meets with President Gerald Ford in the Oval Office to discuss gas situation.

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 auto makers that, for the first time in automobile history, towability would be considered in the design of future cars.

Serves on the Federal Energy Administration’s newly created Consumer Affairs and Special Impact Advisory Committee.

About this time

President Nixon becomes the first U.S. president to resign from office, doing so one day after the House Judiciary Committee adopts articles of impeachment against him in the Watergate scandal. Gerald R. Ford becomes the 38th U.S. president. Patricia Hearst is kidnapped by the Symbionese Liberation Army.

1975

Membership reaches 17 million.

Launches 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.

Develops Approved Auto Repair program to help identify competent, reliable repair facilities. The pilot program starts in Washington, D.C., and Central Florida.

About this time

President Ford escapes two assassination attempts in 17 days. Amid allegations of violations of the cease-fire on both sides, full-scale war resumes in Vietnam. U.S. troops and 140,000 South Vietnamese are evacuated from the area.

1976

Publishes first “Handicapped Drivers Mobility Guide.”

Pioneers unique safety program, Pre-school Children in Traffic, aimed at reducing pedestrian fatalities among children under age six.

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.

Changes rating system for TourBook® guide accommodations listings to the Diamond Rating System.

TourBook® guides begin carrying attraction discounts.

Fights and defeats a proposal for the second time that would not allow motorists to deduct state gas taxes on federal income tax returns, having helped defeat a similar proposal in 1964.

About this time

U.S. Supreme Court rules that the death penalty is constitutional. The U.S. celebrates its bicentennial. Mysterious disease that eventually claims 29 lives strikes the American Legion convention in Philadelphia.

1977

Presents Mexican government with proposals to ensure the safety of travelers after a number of incidents involving American citizens.

About this time

The first woman Episcopal priest is ordained. President Jimmy Carter pardons Vietnam draft evaders. A nuclear proliferation pact curbing spread of nuclear weapons is signed by 15 countries.

1978

Membership reaches 20 million.

Introduces junior high school alcohol awareness program through the Traffic Engineering and Safety Department.

Provides towing services for five million vehicles in one year.

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.

Begins providing the Fuel Gauge Report monthly.

About this time

Californians approve Proposition 13, which slashes property taxes by nearly 60 percent. Karol Cardinal Wojtyla of Poland becomes Pope John Paul II.

1979

Is represented on the National Alcohol Fuels Commission when AAA President James B. Creal receives White House appointment to the commission.

Conducts gasohol test at Automobile Club of New York to determine utility of the fuel. In test vehicles, gasohol not only improves gas mileage, but caused no engine problems.

Develops Driver Improvement Program, which is then implemented fleet-wide by the U.S. Navy.

About this time

The Shah of Iran leaves his country, and Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini takes over the country’s leadership. Margaret Thatcher becomes prime minister of England. Iranian militants seize U.S. Embassy in Teheran and hold hostages.

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