Archive for the ‘Advocacy’ Category

Michael GreenStatement by Kathleen Bower, Vice President of Public Affairs

WASHINGTON, D.C, (April 2, 2014) – “AAA agrees with Chairman Ryan that user fees should be a guiding principle of the Highway Trust Fund. User fees are deficit neutral and provide predictable funding on which state and local transportation officials can rely.

“However, Ryan’s budget plan will not provide an appropriate level of investment necessary to build and maintain the nation’s 21st century transportation system.  The significant cuts he is proposing will hamper investments in safety, further delay needed bridge improvements and hamper mobility in and around congested urban areas.

“The best solution for the near term would be a fiscally responsible proposal — such as increasing the federal gas tax coupled with improved accountability — that adds additional revenue to the Highway Trust Fund and helps make America globally competitive over the long term.”

Michael GreenStatement by Avery Ash, Director of Federal Relations

WASHINGTON, D.C, (March 31, 2014) – “AAA supports NHTSA’s announcement requiring that automakers install rear view cameras on all passenger vehicles by 2018.  Rearview cameras can help prevent needless injury and death among our nation’s most vulnerable citizens.

Rearview cameras can be very useful in detecting people and objects behind the vehicle, but there are limitations as with any technology. Drivers will still need to turn and check blind spots behind and to the side of the car while backing up in order to ensure safety.”

Michael Green(WASHINGTON, March 4, 2014) “The President’s budget provides essential funds over the next four years for the nation’s transportation system and AAA is encouraged by Secretary Foxx’s pledge that his department will submit a full reauthorization proposal to Congress in the coming months.  However, AAA remains concerned with Washington’s tendency to make short-term fixes that only patch, not solve, the U.S. transportation funding crisis.

“Once again, policymakers are settling on politically palatable revenue generators instead of setting the stage for the transportation program to return a meaningful reauthorization and funding process.  These sorts of “solutions” can only provide funding for limited term bills and assure only that we avert, not solve this crisis.

“AAA continues to believe that the gas tax represents the most viable, responsible and effective mechanism to achieve the goal of sustaining a transportation system that supports a vital U.S. economy, provided the additional funds generated are thoughtfully spent on transportation improvements that ease congestion and increase safety.  AAA urges the President and  Congressional leaders to make choices that serve U.S. interests in the long-term, instead of short-term fixes.”

Michael Green Contact TileStatement by Kathleen Bower, AAA Vice President of Public Affairs

“AAA is encouraged that President Obama and Congress are finally focusing on the funding of our nation’s transportation system and the goal of a long-term reauthorization bill, however corporate tax reform and other one-time patches must not be the only funding solutions considered.

“AAA agrees with a large group of diverse transportation stakeholders that a gas tax increase is the most viable, responsible and effective near-term solution to keep the Highway Trust Fund solvent.  AAA also recognizes that new and innovative proposals, including public private partnerships, tolling and the vehicle miles travel tax, must be carefully evaluated as potential long-term successors to the gas tax.  But it will take time to properly pilot test and evaluate new alternatives.

“AAA will continue to be part of those long-term funding discussions, but immediate action is necessary to secure a near-term funding solution for our nation’s transportation system.”

Michael Green Contact TileAAA Helping to Make Driving Safer, Improve Mobility and Protect Motorists’ Rights

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Feb. 25, 2014) – AAA will prioritize important state advocacy issues this year including transportation funding, distracted driving, teen driver safety, impaired driving and connected cars. These priorities will help make driving safer, improve mobility and protect motorists’ rights.

“This is an important year because many states lack the money needed to build and maintain the roads that millions of us use every day,” said Jennifer Ryan, AAA director of state relations. “The federal government has failed to adequately address this issue, and many state legislatures must find new ways to pay for improvements. Every driver wants improved safety and reduced traffic congestion, and AAA will do everything it can to help states achieve these goals.”

AAA’s state advocacy priorities in 2014 include:

  • Transportation funding – Many states are looking to address transportation funding needs due to federal inaction. Congress has not updated the 18.4 cents per gallon gas tax that funds the Highway Trust Fund in more than 20 years, which means federal transportation funding per mile has been significantly eroded due to inflation and increased fuel efficiency of vehicles. Last year, six states including Maryland, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Virginia, and Wyoming, passed legislation to adjust their statewide gas taxes to help pay for roads and bridges. No state passed a law increasing the gas tax in the three years prior to 2013.  As many as 28 additional states may debate funding options this year. AAA will provide expertise as policymakers examine ways to pay for critical transportation projects and safety improvements.
  • Distracted driving – AAA will continue to work with state legislatures to reduce distracted driving. AAA launched a national legislative campaign in 2009 to ban texting while driving in all 50 states, and only eight states remain without a law, including Arizona, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota and Texas. A texting ban bill in New Mexico is awaiting action by the governor.  Distracted driving remains a serious safety concern and is responsible for about 3,000 fatalities and 420,000 injuries per year, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Taking your eyes off the road for more than two seconds, such as when texting, can double your risk of being in a crash.
  • Teen driver safety –Car crashes end more teen lives than cancer, homicide and suicide combined. To help improve teen safety, AAA is urging all states to adopt and enforce a comprehensive three-stage graduated driver licensing (GDL) system for teen drivers. While all states have some form of a GDL law, there is room for improvement. Only seven states (Delaware, Indiana, Michigan, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma and West Virginia) currently have GDL systems that meet AAA’s guidelines for nighttime limits, passenger limits and practice requirements. Safety experts credit GDL laws for much of the 57 percent decline in traffic fatalities for 16- and 17-year-old drivers between 1995 and 2010.
  • Impaired driving – More than 10,000 people die in alcohol-impaired driving crashes per year, which accounts for approximately one-third of the total motor vehicle traffic fatalities in the United States.More needs to be done to reduce crashes involving alcohol. Research has identified the life-saving benefit of ignition interlocks, which are more effective than other methods at reducing repeat offenses among convicted drunk drivers. Only 18 states and four California counties mandate or highly incentivize ignition interlocks for all convicted drunk drivers, and AAA is urging the 32 remaining states to improve safety by requiring ignition interlocks for all offenders.
  • Connected cars – New cars are increasingly equipped with wireless connectivity, enabling them to transmit data outside the vehicle to improve safety and convenience for drivers. These technologies will transform the driving experience, yet also will allow companies to collect large amounts of potentially sensitive personal data. AAA is working to educate state policymakers on the potential ramifications for drivers by promoting consumer rights for car data that ensure transparency, choice and security.

As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 54 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.

Michael Green“The President’s proposal for maintaining roads and bridges is well intentioned, but falls short of what is required because it does not provide a sustainable funding solution for the nation’s transportation problems. AAA urges Congress and the Administration to instead focus on options like increasing the gas tax because it is the most effective and fair way to fund transportation in the near term.

Additional Resources

“AAA supports solutions like Representative Blumenauer’s proposal to increase the federal gas tax by fifteen cents per gallon. A gas tax increase would provide the necessary funds to improve our system, while also upholding the long-standing principle that those who use the roads should pay for their upkeep. Increasing the gas tax is deficit-neutral and would provide funding certainty for the program into the future.

“Americans endure frustrating commutes and unsafe road conditions because our political leaders have not demonstrated the political will necessary to fund current, let alone future, transportation needs. It costs real money to maintain thousands of miles of roads and bridges, yet Washington has too often overlooked the needs of drivers.

“Congress and the Administration must work together and put divisions aside. I hope that in the coming weeks our leaders will move quickly and act responsibly on this important issue.”

 

Michael GreenAAA Urges Companies Offering these Services to Adopt its New “Consumer Rights for Car Data”

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Jan. 16, 2014) – About 1-in-5 new cars sold this year will collect and transmit data outside the vehicle to improve safety and convenience for drivers, as highlighted at the Consumer Electronics Show last week. AAA urges companies offering these services to protect drivers by adopting its new “Consumer Rights for Car Data.”  AAA formally addressed this issue as part of public comments to the Federal Trade Commission last week.

“New car technologies are changing the way we drive by making the experience both easier and safer than ever before,” said Bob Darbelnet, President and CEO of AAA. “Within a decade the majority of cars on the road will be able to identify problems before breakdowns occur, reduce crashes and help drivers save time and money.”

As consumers begin using these new services, AAA urges businesses, the government and other organizations to help ensure the rights of transparency, choice and security. “Many connected car features are made possible through the collection of large amounts of potentially sensitive data from drivers,” continued Darbelnet.  “Companies collecting, using and sharing data from cars should do everything possible to protect consumer rights as they offer these exciting technologies.”

AAA’s Consumer Rights for Car Data

  1. Transparency – Consumers have a right to clearly understand what information is being collected from their vehicle and how it is being used. Businesses and the government should be transparent about the collection and use of vehicle data.
  2. Choice– Consumers have a right to decide with whom to share their data and for what purpose. This includes ongoing monitoring of vehicle systems, repair and any data of the vehicle owner’s choice.  Customers should not be forced to relinquish control as a condition of purchasing or leasing a vehicle or of receiving a connected-vehicle service.
  3.  Security– Consumers have a right to expect that connected-vehicle manufacturers and service providers will use reasonable measures to protect vehicle data systems and services against unauthorized access and misuse.

AAA last week provided specific recommendations to the FTC in response to the commission’s request for public comments, which followed up on the agency’s “Internet of Things” workshop.  The workshop examined the consumer privacy and security issues posed by the growing connectivity of consumer devices, such as cars, appliances and medical devices.

Every automaker selling cars in North America is offering connected features in 2014. Connected cars promise to offer consumers a wide range of benefits including:

  • Crash Response: Connected cars can automatically send real-time data about a crash along with vehicle location to emergency teams. This can save lives by accelerating emergency response.
  • Car Problem Diagnosis: Connected cars are capable of generating prognostic data that can predict a problem before a part even fails, which would prevent the inconvenience of a breakdown and help consumers better manage the timing of vehicle care. Preventative maintenance promises to help reduce repair and warranty costs.
  • Convenience Services: The ability to remotely access a car makes possible services such as remote door unlock, find my vehicle and stolen vehicle recovery.
  • Integrated Navigation: Connected cars can integrate GPS with online services to respond to driver preferences, routing, fuel availability and pricing, traffic alerts, points of interest, etc.
  • Traffic Management: Connected car technology can provide transportation agencies with improved real-time traffic, transit, and parking data, making it easier to manage transportation systems for reduced traffic and congestion.
  • Infotainment: Connected cars can provide online, in-vehicle entertainment options that provide streaming music and information through the dashboard. AAA has called for limiting certain features while driving to prevent distractions.
  • Discounts and promotional offerings: Companies can provide insurance or location-based discounts and promotional offerings.
  • Enhanced Safety: Pilot programs for vehicle-to-vehicle (or “V2V”) and vehicle-to-infrastructure (“V2I”) communications are underway that will warn drivers of potential collisions, dangerous road conditions and other impediments to safe travel.  A range of crash prevention technologies integrated with connected communications such as intersection assistance likely will reduce the number of crashes in the coming years.

As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 54 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.

Michael Green(January 7, 2014) AAA commends the GAO for studying the important issue of vehicle data and driver privacy in its recent report, “In-Car Location-Based Services.” The report addresses the importance of companies protecting consumer privacy related to location-based services and data generated from connected cars. AAA urges companies to protect consumer rights through the principles of transparency, access, control, choice and security.

“Connected cars can dramatically improve the driving experience, but companies must be responsible in their use of consumer information,” said Bob Darbelnet, President and CEO of AAA. “The data that today can be routinely collected by cars includes some of the most sensitive data that can be collected about a person, including information about their precise location and driving habits.”

“Companies have an obligation to protect consumer rights when offering connected car services,” continued Darbelnet. “It is a positive sign that automakers have taken initial steps to address the privacy and security of location data, but more must be done to reduce potential risks faced by consumers.”

Michael Green(WASHINGTON, December 13, 2013) Statement by Kathleen Bower, AAA vice president of public affairs

“AAA thanks David Strickland for his dedication to improving road safety as head of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. His passion, approachability and intellect have helped propel serious issues, such as distracted driving, into the national consciousness and made driving safer for everyone. He fully embraced his role and served as an example to everyone at NHTSA in numerous ways, including by taking the time to become certified as a child passenger safety technician. His leadership on topics like research and testing into autonomous vehicles will continue to impact drivers for years to come. AAA looks forward to continuing our positive relationship with NHTSA and David Friedman as he takes over as acting administrator.”

Nancy WhiteWASHINGTON, D.C. (Dec. 4, 2013)

Statement by Kathleen Bower, AAA Vice President of Public Affairs

“AAA supports Rep. Earl Blumenauer’s efforts to provide necessary investment to fund our nation’s roads and bridges.  Though it would be easier to simply kick the can down the road, today’s proposed legislation takes a necessary step forward in fostering debate on an important issue that many policymakers have been reluctant to address.

“AAA members rely each and every day on the roads, bridges and transit systems that are funded, in part, by the gas taxes that they pay to the federal government.   And when these systems deteriorate – as they have for years now – it not only frustrates our members, but it imposes real costs in terms of safety, time and maintenance.

“The country desperately needs additional funding for infrastructure and for the moment there is no better means than the fuel tax.  The proposed increase is well over due and in line with what most experts suggest would be appropriate.

“Our transportation system is critical to our economy, and Americans value their mobility.  There are no easy answers, and no way to avoid the need for investment.  Asking Americans to pay more is not easy, but it’s the right thing to do for the country.”

As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 54 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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