Posts Tagged ‘Motorist’

Heather HunterORLANDO, Fla., (July 17, 2014) – “Today’s Senate Commerce hearing again sheds light on the unacceptable failure of GM executive management to adequately oversee and respond to early warning signals of potential vehicle safety problems. AAA acknowledges GM’s recent steps to transform its corporate culture by implementing new protocols and procedures intended to help prevent similar crises in the future. However, it is clear more must be done to restore public trust in the recall process, repair compromised vehicles and compensate motorists who have been impacted by GM’s failure to protect their safety. This includes a thorough examination of the existing regulatory structure, and putting in place any changes deemed necessary.”

“AAA continues to support efforts by Congress to raise the maximum fine that NHTSA can levy on automakers, along with legislation introduced by Senators Markey and Blumenthal calling for increased transparency in the recall process. These steps should be taken immediately, and Congress should further use its authority to identify additional ways to help ensure that a tragedy such as this is never allowed to occur again.”

SMichael Greentatement by Bob Darbelnet, President and CEO of AAA

(WASHINGTON, July 10, 2014) “Funding for America’s roads and bridges is once again in imminent danger of running out.  Both the House and Senate will act today on short-term plans to prop up the Highway Trust Fund, but it remains unclear whether either proposal will help meet the long-term needs of drivers.

“The only way that a short-term patch of the Highway Trust Fund is acceptable is if it buys Congress a few months to work on finalizing a bipartisan, long-term agreement later this year. Any proposal that allows this issue to be pushed into 2015 would kill the momentum to find a real funding solution. Renewing the debate next year under a new Congress would start us over at square one, making it nearly impossible to secure long-term transportation funding anytime soon.

“It’s time our leaders in Washington stop the hand-wringing and start taking real steps to shore up funding for the roads and bridges that we rely on every day.  Continuing to put off tough decisions about how to fund transportation will risk road safety and compromise our economic vitality.”

Heather HunterOptimistic Americans dusting off credit cards for a Fourth of July vacation.

ORLANDO, Fla., (June 26, 2014) – AAA Travel projects 41 million Americans will journey 50 miles or more from home during the Independence Day holiday weekend, a 1.9 percent increase from the 40.3 million people who traveled last year and a nearly 14 percent increase compared to the Memorial Day holiday weekend.  The majority of travelers will be celebrating their freedom with a road trip, with more than eight in 10 (34.8 million) choosing to travel by automobile, the highest level since 2007.  The Independence Day holiday travel period is defined as Wednesday, July 2 to Sunday, July 6.
Highlights from 2014 Independence Day Travel Forecast include:

  • Willingness to take on credit card debt, not an increase in income, is responsible for the increase in consumer spending.
  • Nearly five million more Americans are expected to travel for Independence Day than for Memorial Day.
  • Travel volume for Independence Day has grown four out of the past five years and is expected to be more than six percent higher than the average of the past 10 years.
  • Holiday air travel is expected to increase one percent to 3.1 million travelers from 3.07 million last year.
  • Travelers will encounter airfares five percent lower than last year and car rental costs that remain consistent with last year at $58.
  • Hotel rates at AAA Two Diamond hotels are 15 percent higher than last year and Three Diamond hotels are nine percent more.

Additional Resources

“With school out for summer, the Fourth of July holiday is typically the busiest summer travel holiday, with five million more Americans traveling compared to Memorial Day weekend,” said AAA Chief Operating Officer Marshall L. Doney. “In line with tradition, most travelers are celebrating their newfound summer freedom with an all-American road trip.”

An increase in consumer spending is primarily due to increasing credit, rather than rising incomes.  Consumers have been hesitant to add to their credit card balances the past several years, but continued improvements in the employment picture and rising home values means they are starting to feel more comfortable taking on debt. In addition to consumer spending, a boost in consumer confidence and the employment outlook are driving more Americans to take a road trip.

“Steady improvement in the economy has spurred increased consumer confidence and spending,” continued Doney.  “Optimistic Americans are more willing to take on debt this year, dusting off their credit cards to pay for a much-needed Independence Day getaway.”

Travelers likely to pay most expensive Independence Day gas prices in six years

AAA expects the majority of U.S. drivers likely will pay the highest gas prices for Independence Day since 2008. Today’s national average price of gas is about 20 cents per gallon more expensive than the average on July 4, 2013, which was $3.48 per gallon. In recent years gas prices have declined in the weeks leading up to Independence Day, but this has not occurred this summer due to higher crude oil costs as fighting intensifies in Iraq. AAA does not believe that high gas prices will have a significant impact on the number of people traveling, but it could result in some consumers cutting back on dining, shopping or other trip activities. AAA provides the latest gas prices for the nation, states and metro areas at FuelGaugeReport.AAA.com.

Travel expenses mixed

According to AAA’s Leisure Travel Index, hotel rates for AAA Three Diamond lodgings are expected to increase nine percent from one year ago with travelers spending an average of $178 per night compared to $164 last year. The average hotel rate for AAA Two Diamond hotels has risen 15 percent with an average cost of $137 per night.

Weekend daily car rental rates will average $58, the same as last year. Airfares have declined five percent with the average round-trip, discounted fare for the top 40 U.S. routes costing $215, down from $228 last year.

AAA offers digital travel planning resources

AAA’s digital tools for travel planning ‘on the go’ include eTourBook guides for tablets and smartphones, available free to members at AAA.com/ebooks. Choose from 101 top North American destinations including city titles, like the award-winning Las Vegas, regions, like Wine Country, and National Parks.

The free AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android uses GPS navigation to help travelers map a route, find current gas prices and discounts, book a hotel, and access AAA roadside assistance. Members using the iPad version can access interactive Top Destinations travel guides for 10 popular cities. Travelers can learn more at AAA.com/mobile.

On AAA.com, travelers can find thousands of AAA Approved and Diamond Rated hotels and restaurants using AAA’s TripTik Travel Planner or the searchable Travel Guides at AAA.com/Travel. Every AAA Approved establishment offers the assurance of acceptable cleanliness, comfort and hospitality, and ratings of One to Five Diamonds help travelers find the right match for amenities and services.

AAA’s projections are based on economic forecasting and research by IHS Global Insight. The Colorado-based business information provider teamed with AAA in 2009 to jointly analyze travel trends during the major holidays. AAA has been reporting on holiday travel trends for more than two decades. More information including an infographic for the AAA / IHS Global Insight 2014 Independence Day Travel Forecast can be found here.

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.

WASHINGTON, D.C. (June 10, 2014) – Two-thirds of Americans (68 percent) believe the federal government should invest more than it does now on roads, bridges and mass transit systems, according to a new AAA omnibus survey of 2,013 adults. Only five percent of respondents believe the federal government should spend less on transportation. These results come as AAA urges members of Congress to increase the fuel tax, which will address significant transportation safety and congestion issues nationwide.

Survey Highlights

  • About half of Americans (52 percent) are willing to pay higher fuel taxes per month on average for better roads, bridges and mass transit systems.
  • Nearly three times as many people (51 percent) are more likely to vote for a member of Congress who supports increased federal spending on transportation than would be less likely (19 percent).
  • Approximately two-thirds of Americans (67 percent) agree that taxes on gasoline and diesel consumption are appropriate for transportation funding.
  • More people believe that roads, bridges and transit systems have declined in quality over the previous three years (43 percent) than those who believe the quality has improved (32 percent).

AAA Commentary

“Americans are fed up with record-long commutes, unsafe highways and never-ending potholes caused by political inaction,” said Bob Darbelnet, AAA President and CEO. “Congress must prevent severe maintenance delays during the height of the summer driving season by preventing a Highway Trust Fund bankruptcy in August.”

AAA supports a federal gas tax increase, provided the funds go towards projects that ease congestion and improve safety. The gas tax is the most efficient and fair method available to pay for transportation maintenance and improvements in the near term. An increase in fuel taxes, spent wisely, should help reduce the estimated $324 per year in additional vehicle repairs and operating costs that the average driver currently spends due to poor road conditions.

The Department of Transportation expects the federal Highway Trust Fund will run out of money this summer without Congressional action, which would delay transportation maintenance and improvement projects nationwide.

“Many of us are willing to pay a little more if it means we will have access to better roads, bridges and transit systems,” continued Darbelnet. “It is time for our nation’s leaders to stand with those in Congress who support improving our country’s transportation system.”

The federal Highway Trust Fund is supported by the 18.4 cents per gallon gas tax and 24.4 cents per gallon tax on diesel. Congress has not raised this tax since 1993. Due to inflation and increased fuel economy, the purchasing power of the current tax has been cut nearly in half.

Survey Questions and Results

  1. Do you believe the quality of roads, bridges and mass transit systems you regularly use have significantly improved; improved; neither improved nor declined; declined; or significantly declined in the past three years?
    • Total
      Significantly improved 4%
      Improved 28%
      Neither improved nor declined 23%
      Declined 27%
      Significantly declined 16%
  2. Do you think the federal government should invest more, less or the same as it does now for roads, bridges and mass transit systems?
    • Total
      More 68%
      Less 5%
      The Same 24%
  3. On average, U.S. drivers contribute about eight dollars per month in federal fuel taxes towards the nation’s roads, bridges and mass transit systems. How much more, if any, would you be willing to pay on a monthly basis for roads, bridges and mass transit systems?
    • Total
      Not willing to pay more 41%
      Willing to pay more (net) 52%
      $0.01-$4.99 20%
      $5.00-$9.99 11%
      $10 or more 21%

     

  4. If your Congressional representative were to support increased federal spending for U.S. roads, bridges and mass transit systems, would you be significantly more likely; somewhat more likely; neither more nor less likely; somewhat less likely; or significantly less likely to vote for them in the next election?
    • Total
      Significantly more likely 17%
      Somewhat more likely 34%
      Neither more nor less likely 27%
      Somewhat less likely 9%
      Significantly less likely 10%
  5. Federal funding for roads, bridges and mass transit systems comes primarily from taxes on gasoline and diesel fuel consumption. Do you think this is an appropriate way to raise funds for this transportation investment?
    • Total
      Yes 67%
      No 29%

Methodology

AAA conducted a telephone survey among two national probability samples (landline only and cell phone), consisting of a combined total of 2,013 adults (1,009 men and 1,004 women), 18 years of age and older and living in the continental United States. Interviewing for this survey was conducted with two waves taking place on May 1-4 and May 8-11, 2014. This study has an average statistical error of 2.7 percent at the 95 percent confidence level for all US adult motorists.

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.

AAA Statement from CEO Bob Darbelnet

June 5th, 2014 by AAA

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 AAA.com.

AAA Statement from CEO Bob Darbelnet

May 20th, 2014 by AAA

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 U.S.in 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.”

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.”

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(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.”

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