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Press Release

AAA Statement: Feds Need to Boost Highway Safety Effort


AAA Calls for Increased Federal Role in Highway Safety

ORLANDO - U.S. Newswire--American Automobile Association (AAA)
President Robert L.  Darbelnet today urged Congress to make structural
changes in the federal transportation program to support highway
safety improvements, including safety data collection and analysis.

"It's time to end the charade of talking safety without funding
safety," Darbelnet told the annual meeting of the National Asphalt
Pavement Association.

Under the current Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act
(ISTEA), about 10 percent of the program's funds are spent on
"enhancements," such as landscaping and rehabilitation of old railroad
stations and other historic buildings.

"Why not redefine the enhancement provision to include safety
improvements and information gathering into the causes of more than
42, 000 highway deaths per year?"  said Darbelnet.

"After reaching a 30-year low in 1992, highway deaths went up in '93,
up in '94 and again in '95. As an organization with nearly 40 million
member motorists, we are concerned with this trend," he said.

Last year AAA launched a national campaign, "Crisis Ahead: America's
Aging Highways and Airways," to draw attention to the deteriorating
state of the U.S.  transportation system. The association urged that
highway improvements and modernization be given higher national
priority. In considering reauthorization of ISTEA, AAA believes
Congress should also give higher priority to those projects that
enhance public safety.

"If a person were rushed into an emergency room with arterial bleeding
and a broken arm, wouldn't the medical personnel treat the
life-threatening problem first?"  asked Darbelnet. "Similarly, AAA
supports transportation enhancements -- but not until our
infrastructure vital signs are stabilized. We do not have the luxury
of spending gasoline tax dollars on projects that ignore motorists'
safety," said Darbelnet.

ISTEA was enacted in 1991 and expires this year. It is 100 percent
funded by highway user fees, including gasoline taxes.

------ AAA is a not-for-profit federation of 102 motor clubs with more
than 1,000 offices providing more than 39 million members in the
United States and Canada with travel, insurance, financial and
auto-related services.