AAA: Empowering children to protect their communities
The AAA School Safety Patrol program was founded in the U.S. in 1920 and has since expanded to at least 30 other countries. Throughout its nearly 100-year history, the program has given millions of students educational and leadership opportunities.
Deborah Carlino is the teacher advisor for the AAA School Safety Patrol program at Martin Elementary School and AAA School Safety Patrol Advisor of the Year. She’s passionate about safety because she knows firsthand how even the smallest irresponsible decisions – such as the decision to drive drunk or distracted – can destroy lives.
“I used to be a 911 dispatcher, and I listened to many sad things,” Deborah recalls. “Some of the saddest things to me were the accidents… you know a mom rushing to pick up her child and never arriving.”
Deborah believes fully self-driving technology has the potential to prevent many of the kinds of crashes that are caused by unsafe driver decisions, such as texting and drunk driving. Waymo's fully self-driving cars are constantly vigilant, see 360 degrees around the vehicle (and up to three football fields away in a single direction), and never drive drunk or distracted.
AAA Northern California, Nevada & Utah, which serves seven states including Arizona, joined the Let’s Talk Self Driving campaign alongside Waymo to increase awareness, education, and understanding around the potential of self-driving technology to improve road safety for everyone.
To help mark the 100-year anniversary of the AAA School Safety Patrol program, AAA has created a free, downloadable AAA School Safety Lesson Plan as a resource for all teachers. As part of that effort, AAA partnered with Waymo to develop a Lesson Plan module about self-driving cars that encourages students to think about ways to make driving safer and how autonomous vehicles can reduce unsafe behavior such as texting and eating while driving.
“Just from a safety perspective, having cars that have more information and are designed to drive safely, I think would prevent all that sadness,” Deborah said. But, she adds, everyone should be part of the conversation.