Archive for the ‘Advocacy’ Category

AAA Statement from CEO Bob Darbelnet

June 5th, 2014 by admin

Heather HunterAAA Reaction to General Motors Internal Investigation Report

ORLANDO, Fla., (June 5, 2014) – “The complete Valukas report examining General Motors’ failures related to its ignition switch recall describes at least 11 instances in which GM was negligent in addressing the issue, and documents consistent patterns of misconduct and poor judgment by GM employees that put consumers unknowingly at risk for more than a decade.

The company had repeated opportunities to take appropriate measures to remedy the problem, but did not act. On at least two occasions, GM refused to accept the findings of outside investigations, including those of a trooper with the Wisconsin state police and the Indiana University Transportation Research Center. In addition, undocumented changes to the defective switch made ultimate identification of the issue all the more difficult.

AAA is encouraged by the announcement that General Motors accepts responsibility for the deadly delayed recall, and GM’s promise to aggressively address future safety issues. However, the report also reveals a corporate culture that placed business interests above the safety of consumers. A systemic reluctance to raise and react to critical safety concerns at GM reflects an ingrained culture that could require years to fully eradicate.

While the Valukas report provides valuable insight into the root causes of GM’s delayed ignition switch recalls, the report itself will not bring about change. AAA believes that GM’s promise of reform should be supplemented with greater federal oversight of the recall system.”

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

Yolanda Cade(HEATHROW, May 21, 2014) Today’s proposed fee-disclosure requirements from the U.S. Department of Transportation will lead to a better-informed traveling public and should enable travelers to better plan and budget for vacation travel.  AAA supports the proposed steps to increase fare transparency, which is essential regardless of where a customer chooses to purchase a ticket. Currently, fees for additional services are often difficult to determine when searching for airfares and as a result, many consumers are unable to understand the true cost of travel before purchasing a ticket.  As one of the largest leisure travel agencies in the United States, AAA supports the requirements. With the Memorial Day weekend approaching AAA is projecting that 2.6 million leisure travelers will take to the skies to kick off summer with a getaway. Those travelers provide a good reminder about the popularity of air travel and the importance of good information for consumers.

AAA Statement from CEO Bob Darbelnet

May 20th, 2014 by admin

Yolanda CadeGM Recall Reinforces Disturbing Level of Risk for Motorists Behind the Wheel

“AAA acknowledges the step taken by General Motors (GM) today to recall 2.42 million more U.S. vehicles with safety failures that could put motorists in harm’s way.  However, today’s action also highlights the disturbing number of potential hazards to drivers behind the wheel that have come to light this year.  It is distressing to note that GM has so far recalled close to 15 million vehicles in 2014, which is nearly equal to the total vehicles (15.6 M) all manufacturers sold in the 2013 alone.  AAA believes last week’s $35 million fine assessed to GM for delays in taking action with ignition interlocks that have been attributed to the deaths of 13 motorists does not send a strong enough message. GM and other automakers need to clearly understand that risking consumer lives is unacceptable and the costs for doing so must be appropriately severe. AAA supports the proposal to increase the maximum fine NHTSA can impose from $35 million to $300 million.”

Nancy WhiteStatement by Bob Darbelnet, President and CEO of AAA 

(WASHINGTON, May 15, 2014) “AAA applauds the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee for quickly moving a bipartisan transportation reauthorization bill.  It is now up to the Senate Commerce, Banking and Finance Committees to prevent a transportation crisis by acting swiftly on their portions of the bill so this legislation can move to the Senate floor for debate.

Chairman Boxer appropriately cited the option of raising the federal gas tax to address the looming Highway Trust Fund bankruptcy.  AAA supports this viable and effective solution, provided the additional funds are invested in transportation improvements that benefit motorists.  We urge Chairman Wyden and Ranking Member Hatch to commit to a vote on this solution in addition to the other funding mechanisms that will be considered by their committee.”


AAA Welcomes Senate Transportation Bill

May 13th, 2014 by admin

Michael GreenWASHINGTON, D.C, (May 13, 2014) – AAA today issued the following statement by its President and CEO Bob Darbelnet regarding the bipartisan transportation bill introduced in the Senate.

“AAA welcomes Senators Boxer, Vitter, Carper and Barrasso’s bipartisan transportation bill that increases transparency of how federal dollars are spent.  We are encouraged to see leaders in Washington addressing the transportation crisis with detailed proposals rather than general fund bailouts.  AAA looks forward to reviewing the details of this bill, and we are pleased it maintains the ban on interstate tolling.

“It is now up to the Senate Finance Committee to consider how Congress will fund this bill.  AAA urges Chairman Wyden and Ranking Member Hatch to keep all options on the table by committing to a vote on an increase in the federal gas tax in addition to the other funding mechanisms that will be considered by the committee.  AAA, like many, recognizes that a federal gas tax increase is the most viable and effective option available, provided the additional funds are thoughtfully invested in transportation improvements that ease congestion and increase safety.”

Michael Green Contact TileStatement by Bob Darbelnet, President and CEO of AAA

“AAA applauds Senators Boxer, Vitter, Carper and Barrasso for their collaboration on bipartisan transportation legislation that will be introduced next week.  We look forward to reviewing the bill upon its release.  The onus is now on the Senate Finance Committee to consider how to fund this bill.  AAA urges Chairman Wyden and Ranking Member Hatch to commit to holding a committee vote on an increase in the federal gas tax in addition to the other transportation funding options that will be considered.  AAA, along with a broad set of stakeholders, recommends a federal gas tax increase as the most viable and effective option, provided the additional funds are thoughtfully invested in transportation improvements that ease congestion and increase safety.”

Nancy WhiteStatement by Bob Darbelnet, President and CEO of AAA

“This morning the nation lost a true champion of transportation.  Former Chairman Oberstar worked tirelessly to restore the “trust” to the Highway Trust Fund and his leadership, expertise and character should serve as an example in Congress for years to come.  AAA had the pleasure of awarding Congressman Oberstar with our “Transportation Leaders Award” in 1998 for his efforts to promote a better, safer transportation system, and he epitomized this leadership throughout his 18 terms, whether it was boosting the share of federal dollars used for traffic safety improvements or putting the interests of system users first when it came to innovative transportation finance approaches.  Thank you to the people of Northeast Minnesota for sending such a principled and thoughtful leader to Washington, and thank you to Congressman Oberstar for your years of service to this nation.  You will be sorely missed.”

Nancy White“The legislation sent to Capitol Hill by President Obama and Secretary Foxx yesterday was not only an important step in starting a robust discussion on how we fund the nation’s roads and bridges, but it also works to address the disturbing trend of recall shortcomings that are front of mind for motorists.  This includes recent reports that General Motors was again reluctant to act to recall vehicles with potentially life-threatening defects.  These continued reports of some manufacturers weighing the cost of recall against that of inaction, and choosing the latter, must be addressed.

As Secretary Foxx put well yesterday, fines on automakers need to be ‘more than a rounding error’ to ensure compliance.  AAA believes that increasing potential penalties from their current maximum of $35 million to $300 million would be a step in the right direction.  Similarly, it is appropriate to strengthen the recall process and provide DOT with both the authority and obligation to require manufacturers to quickly remove automobiles from the market when a dangerous defect is discovered. Likewise, rental car companies should participate in the recall of unsafe vehicles AAA  will continue to support swift action to protect the safety of American motorists.”

Michael Green Contact TileWASHINGTON, D.C, (April 29, 2014) – “AAA applauds Secretary Foxx and President Obama for being the first out of the gate with legislation that would improve the nation’s roads and bridges, enhance driver safety and provide a more reformed and accountable federal transportation program.

“The GROW AMERICA Act contains no earmarks, no Bridges to Nowhere — instead, it delivers on the core responsibility of the federal government, which is to facilitate interstate commerce, enhance personal mobility, make our roads safer and keep America globally competitive in a rapidly changing world.

“The recommended funding levels in this bill are robust and consistent with the levels independent experts have been telling us for years are necessary.  They should send a clear message to Congress that swift action is needed to avert a transportation crisis.

“While AAA is still reviewing the bill language, this proposal does continue the trend of addressing the Highway Trust Fund shortfall with a solution that is short-term and politically palatable rather than long-term and fiscally responsible.  AAA is encouraged that the Administration is taking the lead in laying out the goal of a multi-year reauthorization bill, however corporate tax reform and other one-time patches must not be the only funding solutions considered.  AAA continues to believe that an increase to the federal gas tax is the most effective and sustainable funding mechanism, provided the additional funds are thoughtfully spent on transportation improvements that ease congestion and increase safety.

“AAA looks forward to working with President Obama, Secretary Foxx and Congress in the coming weeks to pass legislation that improves our transportation system for the benefit of all Americans.”

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.”



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