AAA has worked for motorists and other travelers in the legislature and in regulatory agencies, protecting them against unduly restrictive legislation and regulations. AAA has been in the forefront of the movement for adequate roads and the safe use of those roads, fought for equitable taxation, and stood constant watch over the rights and prerogatives of America's travelers.
For more information on AAA's Advocacy efforts in Florida, Georgia and Tennessee, click a state below:
Florida remains one of only two states that does not require the use of booster seats - which is the only restraint that offers appropriate protection for children 4 to 8 years of age.
Motor vehicle injuries are the leading cause of death among children in the U.S., but many of those deaths could have been prevented had the children been placed in age- and size-appropriate car seats and booster seats.
Unfortunately, Florida has the most lenient and un-safe child passenger safety law in the nation. It requires car seat use by children through age three and permits the use of a safety belt for children ages four and older. This is not an appropriate solution to keep these small children safe. Because safety belts are designed for adults, the belt does not fit properly on a young child which can lead to life threatening injuries in case of a crash.
Florida law does an injustice for parents who unknowingly think the law provides appropriate guidance for keeping their children safe. Legislation requiring booster seats for children under the age of eight, or at least 4’9’’ tall, has the potential to save many children from crash-related deaths and injuries.
AAA recommends that children who have outgrown their five point harness car seat by weight or height use a booster seat until they reach 4'9' (typically between the ages of 8-12). A booster seat simply “boosts” a child up and allows for proper placement of the lap and shoulder belt, which is crucial for safety during a crash. Without a booster seat, safety belts cross over a child’s soft stomach and neck which can lead to serious debilitating injuries. Use of booster seats can reduce injuries by 45 percent compared to using an adult safety belt alone.
Florida voters agree. A recent AAA survey found the majority of respondents favored booster seat requirements for children under 4'9".
Fast Facts on Booster Seats
Get Involved! Ask your legislators to cosponsor booster seat during the 2013 legislative session. Visit here to locate your state legislators.
- Car Crashes are the leading cause of death for ages 2 to 14
- Florida has the Weakest Child Passenger Safety Law in the Nation
- Safety Belts do not fit a child under 4’9” correctly without a booster seat
- Booster seats raise the child up so the belt fits over the strongest parts of the body: the collar bone and hips instead of the soft neck and stomach
- Booster Seats reduce injury by 49% compared to a seat belt alone (Children's Hopsital of Philadelphia)
For more information on child passenger safety visit the AAA Traffic Safety site.
Ban Texting While Driving
Every day, more than 1200 people are hurt in vehicle crashes caused by distracted drivers. To these 1200 people their lives will never be the same but in society this sad statistic hardly gets noticed. Distracted driving crashes are 100 percent preventable. Sadly, Florida still lacks a law addressing distracted driving.
No one, not even opponents to the law, would dispute that texting while driving presents a danger to all road users. Texting takes a driver’s eyes off the road, hands off the wheel, and focus away from the driving task. Ample traffic safety research illustrates how texting can significantly raise a driver’s risk of crashing.
Not only have legislators recognized the need for this law, so do the people of Florida. A AAA survey conducted this year found that four in five Florida voters favor legislation that prohibits all persons from texting while driving, regardless of age. According to the AAA Foundation’s 2011 survey, more than nine out of ten Americans (94%) consider texting while driving to be an unacceptable behavior.
We must call on the Florida Legislature to remove the roadblocks and finally address this dangerous driving behavior. We tell our young drivers that driving is a privilege granted by the state, not a right, and that we all have a responsibility to share in the safety of our roads. The same should be the case for all drivers. There is the support from the voters and its time for our legislators in Tallahassee to take action and make Florida the 40th state to ban distracted driving.
Get Involved! Help ban texting while driving in Florida. Contact your legislators and ask them to cosponsor legislation during the 2013 state legislative session. Visit here to locate your state legislators.
Georgia Voters Support Ignition Interlock Devices
Impaired driving continues to be a dangerous behavior that far too many motorists are part-taking in. Besides the large fiscal impact of alcohol-impaired motor vehicle crashes of an estimated $27 billion annually, there is the devastating human toll. In 2010, more than 10,000 people died in alcohol-impaired driving crashes—one every 51 minutes. Conservative estimates show DUI offenders have driven drunk at least 80 times before they are arrested.
To tackle this problem, AAA recently strengthened the organization position on ignition interlock devices. An ignition interlock is a breath test device linked to a vehicles ignition system. When a convicted drunk driver starts his or her vehicle, he or she must first blow into the device. The vehicle will not start unless the drivers Blood Alcohol Concentration is below a preset level.
AAA is advocating for the use of Ignition Interlock Devices for all convicted DUI offenders, not just repeat and high-BAC offenders. This is a stronger position and is consistent with research showing that ignition interlocks can reduce the rate of re-arrest among drivers convicted of DUI by a 67%, making them more effective than other prevention methods. Drivers with interlocks also had fewer alcohol-impaired driving crashes than drivers who had their drivers’ licenses suspended because of a DUI conviction.
Georgia voters agree. A majority of respondents to an AAA survey, conducted December 2012, favor requiring interlock devices for all drivers convicted of a DUI.
AAA supports legislation requiring motorcycle drivers and passengers to wear helmets. Tennessee is currently one of 19 states with a motorcycle helmet law. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), helmets saved the lives of nearly 1,500 motorcyclists in 2009.
Motorcyclists who suffer crashes without helmets also have higher health care costs resulting from their crash injuries. The economic cost saving due to helmet use is estimated at $2.9 billion in 2009; an additional $1.3 billion could have been saved if all motorcyclists had worn helmets. For these reasons, AAA will continue to support the current law that requires motorcycle drivers and their passengers to wear helmets.
Let your state legislators know you support maintaining the motorcycle helmet law in Tennessee. Take action here.
Focusing on ensuring a safer, more efficient transportation system for members and the motoring public, AAA maintains a presence in Washington, D.C., and state and local governments across the country. Through its network of clubs and their representatives, the association monitors progress with new laws and works to strengthen existing ones.