AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety Celebrates 70th Anniversary

Foundation’s new website highlights four major research priorities

BOISE – (March 16, 2018) – In recognition of 70 years of safety research, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety has launched a new website – AAAFoundation.org – that organizes data into four focus areas: emerging technologies, vulnerable road users, driver behavior and performance, and roadway systems and drivers.  The Foundation’s mission is to reduce traffic deaths and injuries.

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“For decades, the AAA Foundation has served as a trusted source of safety information for media outlets, government agencies, and the motoring public,” says AAA Idaho Public Affairs Director Matthew Conde. “The safety landscape continues to shift, so the Foundation’s work is more important than ever.”

In the early days, Foundation studies focused on teen driving and driver education programs, but technological advances and changing safety habits have led to expanded research on senior mobility, autonomous vehicle development, distracted driving and impaired driving, to name a few.

“Since 2008, AAA has produced an annual Traffic Safety Culture Index to get a better sense of driver attitudes and behaviors,” Conde said. “We continue to see an interesting trend – drivers think they outperform just about everyone else on the road.  That belief can lead to dangerous risk-taking.”

The Foundation has also worked closely with researchers at the University of Utah for the past few years to study the distracting effects of advanced vehicle infotainment systems, including navigation screens and voice-controlled texting. The bottom line: hands-free doesn’t equal “brain free,” so drivers should avoid visual and cognitive distractions of any kind.

AAA’s research has produced significant findings related to marijuana use – the legal limits for marijuana and driving that have been established in some states are not supported by science. Unlike alcohol, a consistent measure of marijuana impairment has not yet been identified.

Foundation Executive Director Dr. David Yang said, “As vehicle technologies and the ways humans interact with them evolve, so will the Foundation’s research. With an eye toward the future, our focus is on improving road and vehicle designs to ensure all drivers get home safely.”