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AAA to Celebrate 100 Years With Special Offerings to Members

    ORLANDO, Fla.--Jan. 14, 2002--AAA, North America's largest motoring and travel organization, will kick off its 2002 centennial celebration in March with an announcement in Chicago of a new public service initiative and with special offers to its nearly 45 million members. AAA was founded in Chicago on March 4, 1902.
    The new public service campaign will target the issue of child passenger safety. The campaign will focus on the need to educate parents, the public and lawmakers about the importance of child passenger restraints.
    "We are proud of AAA's record of public service throughout the last 100 years and want to continue this success with future campaigns that focus on safety for all travelers," said Robert L. Darbelnet, AAA president and CEO. "And what can be more important than the safety of our children?"
    Also in March, AAA will announce a new "Hundreds of Deals" offering to members throughout the United States and Canada. Many of AAA's business partners will offer members enhanced automotive, travel, retail and entertainment values and discounts in celebration of the organization's centennial.
    During the year-long celebration, AAA will highlight many of its accomplishments during the past 100 years.
    "The world has changed significantly in the last century and AAA has kept pace with those changes," said Darbelnet. "Advances in transportation and communication make this business very different today than it was in 1902, but no less important to motorists and to all travelers."
    Throughout the last 100 years many of AAA's most significant contributions to public service have come through representing travelers' interests before all levels of government. Additionally, AAA has launched many public service campaigns to inform, educate and protect consumers. Some of the most significant challenges and successes include:

-- AAA has helped to improve transportation in the United States by representing travelers' interests on hundreds of important safety and mobility policy issues. Beginning in 1903, AAA has continuously supported legislation that earmarks public funds for maintaining and improving the nation's transportation infrastructure, including airports. AAA has also worked to ensure that adequate funds are devoted to keeping the transportation network safe and efficient.
-- AAA played a major role in helping the Interstate Highway System become a reality. To help make driving easier and highways safer, AAA began the first highway signing program and encouraged government to create standardized signs and markings on highways.
-- AAA launched a nationwide campaign -- "Licensed To Learn: A Safety Program for New Drivers" -- beginning in 1997 to pass graduated driver licensing (GDL) laws in the states to ensure teens get the practice and guidance they need to become safe drivers. Data show these laws help reduce the number of teen driver crashes and save lives. Since 1997, AAA has helped enact GDL laws in nearly 40 states.
-- The AAA School Safety Patrol was established in 1920 to help ensure the safety of children going to and from school. Since then the program's bright orange belts and silver badges have become nationally recognized symbols for child safety. The United States Post Office featured the School Safety Patrol on a stamp commemorating AAA in 1952, and the program won the Presidential Citation Award for Private Sector Initiatives in 1985. President Ronald Reagan honored a safety patroller in his State of the Union address in 1986.
-- Many AAA safety initiatives have dealt with the problem of drunk and drugged driving. AAA has instituted programs to encourage drivers not to drink, to rehabilitate those convicted of driving while intoxicated, and to teach alcohol awareness and the dangers of drinking and driving to children from elementary through high school.

    "AAA will continue to play an active role in these types of programs to benefit members and the public," said Darbelnet "and to keep abreast of technology, legislation and safety concerns effecting all travelers."