1 in 4 American households belongs to North America’s largest motoring organization
BOISE – (September 26, 2019) – AAA is pleased to announce that nationwide membership has reached 60 million members, a major milestone in its 117-year history. Growing from humble beginnings in 1902, AAA now serves 1 in 4 U.S. households with a variety of member benefits, including its famous roadside assistance, travel planning, and insurance products.
“We’re grateful to be a vital part of so many people’s lives, including nearly 120,000 members here in the Gem State,” says AAA Idaho public affairs director Matthew Conde. “While we continue to evolve as an organization to meet changing member needs, we are still guided by core values that have stood the test of time.”
In 1902, just 23,000 cars were in operation in the United States, compared with 17 million horses. But by that time, 50 small motor clubs had already been formed by automobile enthusiasts across the country. Nine of those clubs joined together to create a national motoring organization, and on March 4, 1902, the American Automobile Association was founded in Chicago.
“In the early days, automobiles had to travel down roads that were originally designed for the horse and buggy, often with disastrous results,” Conde said. “Over the years, AAA has led the charge for better roads and consistent traffic laws, including raising funds to help pave some of the first roads in various parts of the country. Our advocacy efforts continue to this day.”
As automobile travel became more prevalent, AAA began publishing information about roads, hotels, service facilities, and motor vehicle laws, and small travel bureaus started popping up in hotel lobbies in places like Boise and Idaho Falls. In 1927, a foreign travel department was added to help members with steamship tickets and shipping their vehicles overseas. Ten years later, AAA began field inspections of lodgings and restaurants – this rating system later evolved into AAA Diamond Ratings in 1977, in time for the organization’s 75th (Diamond) anniversary.
Insurance services, Discounts and Rewards, traffic safety programs and much more have been added to AAA’s efforts over time, all with the mission of providing peace of mind to members. AAA operates nearly 1,100 branch offices across North America.
“We’re fortunate to serve the great-grandchildren of some of our original members,” Conde said. “But our work isn’t done. We plan to be at our members’ side for at least another 100 years.”