Archive for the ‘Advocacy’ Category

ErinSteppExpert in traffic safety research takes the driver’s seat

WASHINGTON (September 12, 2016) – Dr. C. Y. David Yang, a leading expert in transportation and traffic safety research, has been selected to be the new executive director of the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. Dr. Yang joins the Foundation after having served most recently as the Human Factors Team Leader with the Federal Highway Administration, part of the U.S. Department of Transportation, where he transformed the Human Factors Laboratory into a world-class research facility with state-of-the-art tools and top-notch researchers.

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“Dr. Yang is uniquely qualified to lead the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety as it heads into its 70th year,” said AAA Foundation Board of Trustees Chairman Mark A. Shaw. “The Foundation has established a strong reputation for important research that informs efforts to reduce traffic crashes, injuries and deaths, and I am confident that Dr. Yang’s experience and deep commitment to traffic safety will increase the Foundation’s impact as a leading safety research organization.”

Dr. Yang is well known and highly regarded in national and international transportation communities, chairing the Users Performance Section of the National Academies’ Transportation Research Board and serving on the editorial boards of two noted transportation journals. A prominent and award-winning transportation expert, Dr. Yang has published more than 40 journal articles, conference papers, and government reports on subjects related to transportation safety, operations, and Intelligent Transportation Systems. Dr. Yang earned his BS, MS and Ph.D. in civil engineering at Purdue University.

“I look forward to joining and working with the respected team of researchers at the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety in the near future,” said Dr. Yang. “I am proud to have the opportunity to lead this organization that is dedicated to improving safety on our nation’s roadways.”

“Dr. Yang assumes the leadership of the Foundation at an important time,” Shaw said. “The Foundation is conducting valuable research in areas including impaired and distracted driving, teen and senior drivers and other important topics,” continued Shaw. “Under Dr. Yang’s leadership, the Foundation will continue to provide innovative insights to increase the Foundation’s and AAA’s impact on safety.”

Established by AAA in 1947, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit, publicly-supported charitable research and educational organization. Dedicated to saving lives and reducing injuries on our roads, the Foundation’s mission is to prevent crashes and save lives through research and education about traffic safety. The Foundation has funded more than 300 research projects designed to discover the causes of traffic crashes, prevent them and minimize injuries when they do occur. For additional information on AAA Foundation research and findings, visit AAAFoundation.org and NewsRoom.AAA.com.

As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 56 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. Motorists can map a route, identify gas prices, find discounts, book a hotel and access AAA roadside assistance with the AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android. Learn more at AAA.com/mobile.

Tamra JohnsonAAA Applauds Smart City Competition for Being a Catalyst of Transportation Innovation

WASHINGTON, D.C. (June 23, 2016)-  Today the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) named Columbus, OH as the winner of its Smart City Challenge. AAA’s Managing Director of Government Relations and Traffic Safety Advocacy, Jill Ingrassia, has released the following statement in response to the announcement.

“AAA applauds USDOT, Vulcan Inc., all of the Smart Cities Challenge finalists and other partners for their commitment to improving the future of our country’s transportation system. Smart transportation is the fundamental building block of a smart city.  By leveraging new technology, data analysis, collaboration and innovation, cities like Columbus, Ohio will demonstrate smart ways to address our 21st century transportation challenges.  Congratulations to the city of Columbus and its partners.  We look forward to seeing the innovations that will make transportation in Ohio more integrated, safe and efficient.”

As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 56 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.  Motorists can map a route, identify gas prices, find discounts, book a hotel and access AAA roadside assistance with the AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android. Learn more at AAA.com/mobile.

Tamra Johnson

Nearly 70 Percent of Drivers’ Planning a Road Trip Are Concerned About Road Conditions

WASHINGTON, D.C. (May 19, 2016)-  Nearly 56 percent of U.S. drivers are planning a road trip this summer. Travelers hitting the road will pay the lowest summer gas prices since 2005. Today’s national average for a gallon of gas is $2.26, 45 cents less than last year.  More than half of Americans say low gas prices are the reason they will travel this summer, but nearly 70 percent are concerned about the condition of U.S. roads for their trip.

According to a recent AAA survey, some top concerns for summer travelers are:

  • Too much traffic/congestion: 48 percent of drivers
  • Unsafe roads and bridges: 36 percent of drivers

“Bad roads and traffic gridlock can make summer travel unpleasant and costly for U.S. drivers,” said Jill Ingrassia, AAA Managing Director of Government Relations & Traffic Safety Advocacy. “While low gas prices are getting people back behind the wheel this summer, bad roads can hit them hard in the pocket.”

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Over the last five years, AAA found that damaged roads have cost U.S. drivers $15 billion in vehicle repairs, or approximately $3 billion annually. The average driver reported spending $300 to repair pothole damage to their vehicle and many reported having to make repairs an average of three times in the last five years. Drivers are also paying an additional $960 a year in wasted time and fuel due to traffic congestion. According to the 2015 Urban Mobility Scorecard, traffic delays kept drivers on the road for nearly seven billion extra hours and caused them to waste more than three billion gallons of fuel.

“With a record 38 million Americans traveling this Memorial Day weekend and more expected over the course of the summer, it is important that roads are safe” continued Ingrassia. “An estimated $170 billion per year in additional funding is still needed to significantly improve America’s crumbling roads and bridges.”

This Memorial Day weekend, AAA expects more than 350,000 million calls for towing assistance, many the result of flat tires. AAA recommends motorist check the condition of their tires before hitting the road and avoid traveling routes with excessive potholes or structural damage. The steep price for bad road conditions are expected to rise even higher in the years ahead. AAA urges lawmakers to keep their eye on the ball to identify a sustainable funding source for the future.

AAA completed a telephone survey of two national probability samples (landline only and cell phone). The total sample size consists of 1,006 adults living in the continental United States. Interviewing for the survey was conducted April 28-May 1, 2016. This study has an average statistical error of ±3.1% at the 95% confidence level for all US adults.

As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 56 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.  Motorists can map a route, identify gas prices, find discounts, book a hotel and access AAA roadside assistance with the AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android. Learn more at AAA.com/mobile.

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Michael Green Contact TileBad Weather a Factor in More than 2,000 Road Deaths Every Winter According to New Research

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Jan. 21, 2016) – Dangerous winter storms and bad weather are a factor in nearly half a million crashes and more than two thousand road deaths every winter, according to the latest research by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. As a potentially historic winter storm approaches the East Coast this weekend, AAA is urging motorists to be prepared and to remain cautious if driving.

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“There are a disproportionate number of crashes this time of year involving bad weather and winter storms,” said Peter Kissinger, President and CEO of the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. “Snow and sleet can cause significant safety problems by reducing visibility and making it difficult to maneuver or stop.”

About 46 percent of crashes involving bad weather take place in the winter, making this the worst time of year for driving in treacherous conditions. The highest proportion of crashes involving bad weather happen overnight from 6:00 PM until 5:59 AM, when visibility is limited and roads are most likely to freeze. Previous research also has found that the rates of fatal crashes are higher during the first snowfall of the year than on subsequent days with snow.

“This weekend’s winter storm has great potential to create havoc on major roads used by millions of drivers every day,” said William Van Tassel, AAA’s manager of driver training programs. “Drivers braving the bad weather should remain cautious and slow down to keep from being in a crash.”

The new AAA Foundation research report (Motor Vehicle Crashes, Injuries and Deaths in Relation to Weather Conditions), analyzed bad weather and crashes throughout the year. The study found that rain, snow, sleet and fog are a factor in more than 1.1 million police-reported crashes, 425,000 injuries and 5,100 traffic deaths per year. The average crash data for various types of bad weather includes:

Crashes Injuries Deaths
Rain 518,303 206,474 2,239
Snow 189,416 51,267 523
Sleet 36,491 11,644 143
Fog 21,616 8,167 374

 

The study did uncover surprising news. Crashes in bad weather are generally less severe than crashes taking place in clear weather. For example, crashes that occur on snow-covered roads result in 31 percent fewer injuries per crash and 47 percent fewer fatalities per crash than on dry roads. While the new study was unable to examine the impact of bad weather on the risk of being involved in a crash in the first place, other studies have found that rates of all types of crashes generally increase in bad weather, but that the increases in minor crashes are larger than the increases in more severe crashes.

AAA recommends the following eight tips to remain safe while driving in snowy and icy conditions:

  • Stay home. If you really don’t have to go out, don’t. Even if you can drive well in the snow, not everyone else can. Don’t tempt fate.
  • Drive slowly. Everything takes longer on snow-covered roads. Accelerating, stopping, turning –  give yourself time to maneuver by driving slowly.
  • Accelerate and decelerate slowly. Apply the gas slowly to regain traction and avoid skids. Don’t try to get moving in a hurry and take time to slow down for a stoplight. Remember: It takes longer to slow down on icy roads.
  • Increase your following distance to eight to ten seconds. This increased margin of safety will provide the longer distance needed if you have to stop.
  • Know your brakes. Whether you have antilock brakes or not, keep the heel of your foot on the floor and use the ball of your foot to apply firm, steady pressure on the brake pedal.
  • Don’t stop if you can avoid it. There’s a big difference in the amount of inertia it takes to start moving from a full stop versus how much it takes to get moving while still rolling. If you can slow down enough to keep rolling until a traffic light changes, do it.
  • Don’t power up hills. Applying extra gas on snow-covered roads just starts your wheels spinning. Try to get a little inertia going before you reach the hill and let that inertia carry you to the top. As you reach the crest of the hill, reduce your speed and proceed downhill slowly.
  • Don’t stop going up a hill. There’s nothing worse than trying to get moving up a hill on an icy road. Get some inertia going on a flat roadway before you take on the hill.

Far too many drivers become stranded on the roadside this time of year. AAA handles an average of 600,000 emergency roadside assistance calls per week in the winter with the most common problems being dead batteries, extractions, towing and flat tires. AAA recommends keeping the following items in your “emergency kit” for winter driving:

  • Bag of abrasive materials such as sand, salt or cat litter for gaining traction in snow and ice
  • Snow shovel
  • Flashlight
  • Gloves or mittens
  • Ice scraper and snow brush
  • Jumper cables
  • Blanket
  • Warning flare or triangles
  • Cellular phone and emergency charger
  • Food and water
  • First aid kit

Established by AAA in 1947, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit, publicly-supported charitable educational and research organization. Dedicated to saving lives and reducing injuries on our roads, the Foundation’s mission is to prevent crashes and save lives through research and education about traffic safety. The Foundation has funded over 300 research projects designed to discover the causes of traffic crashes, prevent them and minimize injuries when they do occur.  Visit www.AAAFoundation.org for more information on this and other research.

As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 55 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. Motorists can map a route, identify gas prices, find discounts, book a hotel and access AAA roadside assistance with the AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android. Learn more at AAA.com/mobile. AAA clubs can be visited on the Internet at AAA.com.

Michael Green Contact Tile(WASHINGTON, Dec. 3, 2015) AAA’s President and CEO, Marshall Doney, has released the following statement in response to Congressional passage of a five-year transportation bill today.

“AAA is pleased to see Congress finally pass a multi-year transportation bill to ease congestion, improve safety and modernize our roads and bridges. Drivers have waited years for needed highway improvements, and there is now hope that we are on a path towards easing many of the problems that commuters face every day.

“The legislation is not perfect and long-term funding will remain a problem for Congress to address in the future. Despite those ongoing challenges, the current bill should help state transportation departments to make long-overdue improvements across the country.

“It is encouraging to see Congress come together make the compromises necessary to pass legislation of this magnitude.  Millions of Americans drive every day, and they deserve a highway system that safely moves people and goods as quickly as possible.  The passage of this bill should help make safe and efficient transportation a reality, and AAA is proud to have helped to make this happen.”

Since its founding in 1902, AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers, and it is North America’s largest motoring and travel organization with more than 55 million members.

Michael Green Contact Tile(WASHINGTON, Nov. 5, 2015) AAA’s President and CEO, Marshall Doney, has issued the following statement in response to the U.S. House of Representatives passing a multi-year transportation bill today:

“Today’s passage of a multi-year transportation bill by the House is an important step toward improving our nation’s roads and bridges. This legislation is far from perfect, but it provides long overdue certainty for state and local governments, accelerates the deployment of 21st-century transportation technologies and ultimately will help decrease congestion and increase safety for motorists.

“The bipartisan collaboration that allowed this legislation to be considered in a timely manner is significant and signals a willingness to work with the Senate to send a bill to the President. While the debate is not over, today’s action by the House moves us a step closer to providing the motoring public with a safe, reliable and efficient transportation system. AAA will work to make this bill a bigger win for motorists as the legislation moves to conference.”

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Michael Green Contact TileOnly 38 percent believe Congress is working to meet the nation’s transportation needs

WASHINGTON, D.C. (October 13, 2015) – A significant majority of Americans (70 percent) believe the federal government should invest more than it does now for roads, bridges and mass transit systems, according to a new survey by AAA. The results also show that only 38 percent of Americans believe that Congress is taking the necessary steps to ensure that our roads, bridges and transit systems will meet the needs of the nation.

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“Americans rely on our nation’s roads and bridges every day, yet Congressional inaction has led to longer commutes, more potholes and unsafe conditions,” said Marshall Doney, AAA President and CEO. “Motorists are dissatisfied that our national leaders repeatedly have failed to meet the basic needs of drivers across the country.”

AAA also asked the public to rank its priorities for transportation funding. Conducting routine maintenance of roads and bridges overwhelmingly topped the list, yet all categories included in the survey received significant support. The complete rankings include:

  • Conducting routine maintenance and repair of roads and bridges, such as fixing potholes, repaving roads, etc.: 91 percent rate as important
  • Expanding public and shared transportation, such as busses, commuter rail and support for car-pooling: 70 percent rate as important
  • Conducting traffic safety training programs on topics such as the dangers of speeding, distracted driving and driving while impaired: 67 percent rate as important
  • Reducing traffic congestion and travel time by expanding lanes and adding lanes reserved for high-occupancy vehicles: 65 percent rate as important
  • Improving transportation information technology, such as automated road and traffic warning signs and route mapping software: 64 percent rate as important

“Potholes and bad roads increase driver stress and can cause significant vehicle damage requiring costly repairs,” continued Doney. “It’s time for Congress to pass long-term funding legislation that ensures our transportation system receives the maintenance necessary to get Americans to work every day.”

Motorists pay a steep price in the form of high repair bills from hitting potholes and sitting in traffic. U.S. drivers annually spend about $324 in additional vehicle repairs and operating costs due to poor roads and bridges.

Few drivers would be surprised to learn that more than 1 in 3 major U.S. roads are in poor or mediocre condition due to inadequate funding.  The American Society of Civil Engineers most recently rated the country’s roads with a nearly failing D grade, while bridges earned a C+.

Transportation underpins the U.S. economy, yet an aging system of roads and bridges threatens to harm the country’s future development. Businesses, factories, employers and consumers must be connected to a dependable and modern transportation network to help build and sustain a healthy economy.   Whether it’s the movement of freight or the creation of jobs, the nation depends on seamless and efficient transportation.

Congress has wasted billions of dollars by supporting short-term funding patches for roads and bridges, and AAA is calling for a long-term transportation law that meets the needs of drivers for years to come. The current authorization of the federal highway bill is set to expire on October 29 unless Congress acts soon.

The Highway Trust Fund needs $15 billion more per year just to maintain a flat level of funding, while current federal spending meets just one-third of our transportation needs. An annual investment of $120 billion for highways and bridges between 2015 and 2020 is necessary to improve the condition and performance of the system, according to the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials.

AAA conducted a telephone survey among two national probability samples (landline only and cell phone), consisting of a combined total of 1,008 adults, 18 years of age and older and living in the continental United States. Interviewing for this survey was conducted September 10-13, 2015. This study has an average statistical error of 3.1 percent at the 95 percent confidence level for all US adults.

As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 56 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.

Julie HallEducators applaud the program’s influence in reducing injuries and fatalities among school children age 5 to 14

WASHINGTON, D.C. (August 25, 2015) – Since 1920, the AAA School Safety Patrol Program has been instrumental in helping students get to and from school safely. As the program marks its 95th anniversary, Patrollers across North America and in 30 countries will take their post for another school year, wearing their familiar ‘Lectric Lime belt or vest.

“The AAA School Safety Patrol Program relies on student volunteers to assist their classmates at crossings, carpool areas and bus loading and unloading zones,” said AAA Traffic Safety Advocacy Project Manager Rhonda Shah. “Patrollers receive comprehensive training in the fundamentals of traffic safety, working, in many cases, with local law enforcement. They do not direct traffic, but they help students understand when it is safe to enter roadways,” Shah said.

The largest safety program in the world, the AAA School Safety Patrol Program has 635,000 Patrollers in 33,500 schools nationwide. The program has been praised by education and safety groups around the world for reducing injuries and fatalities among school children ages 5 to 14. In 1949, AAA established the AAA Lifesaving Medal to recognize Patrollers who saved a life in the course of duty. To date, 411 Patrollers have received this award.

According to Shah, the program also helps students develop leadership skills and encourages academic achievement and commitment to community involvement. “Patrollers learn the importance of teamwork and develop self-confidence and a sense of responsibility,” she said. “Their duties earn respect and recognition from peers, school administrators and community leaders.”

The AAA School Safety Patrol Program was a starting point for many of the nation’s leaders. Numerous Patrol alumni chose a career path in government, law enforcement or community service — crediting the influence of their Patroller experience. 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 astronauts. A list of Patrol alumni can be found here.

Schools interested in beginning or expanding a AAA School Safety Patrol Program can find more information at www.SchoolSafetyPatrol.AAA.com.

As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 55 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.

Yolanda CadeORLANDO, Fla., (July 1, 2015) – AAA is pleased  to announce the appointment of Marshall L. Doney  as its new President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO), effective July 1, 2015. As CEO of AAA’s National Office, Doney will head the national office for the federation which is comprised of 43 affiliated clubs with 55 million members in the United States and Canada. Doney will take over for long time CEO Bob Darbelnet.

Doney has been the President and Chief Operating Officer for the past two years and successfully oversaw the organization’s automotive initiatives as the Vice President of Automotive Services from 1996 until his appointment as President and COO two years ago.  Doney is a respected and proven leader who is known for his collaborative leadership style and building high performance teams across the AAA association.

Doney succeeds Bob Darbelnet, who led the organization through several decades of growth and innovation. Darbelnet retired from AAA on July 1 after serving the organization for 42 years and in the capacity of AAA president and CEO since November 1994, after 11 years as CEO of CAA-Quebec.

Marshall L. Doney began his AAA career in 1984 as Assistant District Manager at AAA Wisconsin. He joined the AAA National Office in 1991 as Director, Strategic Planning and Research, then moved to AAA New York as the Director of Marketing and Service Quality. He rejoined the AAA National Office in 1996 in the role of Vice President, Automotive Services. With 30 years of diverse experience working with AAA clubs and the national office, Marshall Doney is well positioned for his role as Chief Executive Officer.

Reflecting on his appointment, Doney said: “I am honored and excited to have been selected by the AAA Board of Directors to continue AAA’s momentum and to lead this well-respected, member-centric organization during a time in our existence where automotive technology is changing faster than ever before.”

A graduate of Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Doney holds both bachelor’s and master’s degrees in business administration.

As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 55 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.

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Michael Green Contact Tile(WASHINGTON, June 24, 2015) AAA has released the following statement by Kathleen Bower, vice president of public affairs and international relations:

“AAA applauds the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee for quickly moving their bipartisan transportation reauthorization bill. This legislation is essential to repairing and improving our nation’s transportation infrastructure for the tens of millions of drivers who rely on roads and bridges every day. It is now up to the Senate Commerce, Banking and Finance Committees to follow the EPW Committee’s lead and act swiftly on their portions of the bill so this legislation can move to the Senate floor for debate before the current extension expires on July 31.

“How to fund a long-term transportation bill continues to be the ‘$100 billion question’ for our leaders in Congress. AAA, along with a broad coalition of stakeholders, supports an increase to the federal gas tax as the most viable, effective and immediate solution, provided the additional funds are invested in transportation improvements that benefit motorists. We urge Chairman Hatch and Ranking Member Wyden to commit to a vote on this solution in addition to the other funding mechanisms that will be considered by their committee.”

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