The Automobile Association (The AA) is a British company providing car insurance, driving lessons, breakdown cover, loans and motoring advice, and more recently home and contents insurance and home emergency cover. It was a former motoring association that became a private limited company in 1999, and is owned by its staff and three private equity firms.

History

The Motor Car Act 1903 which came into force in 1904 had introduced new penalties for breaking the speed limit and for reckless driving; it also required vehicles to display a vehicle registration plate and for drivers to hold a driving licence. Fines were introduced for speeding and repeat offenders could be jailed and driving offences would be listed on the driver’s licence as ‘Endorsements’.

On 29 June 1905 a group of motoring enthusiasts met at the Trocadero restaurant in the West End of London. This was the inauguration of the Automobile Association, formed to help motorists avoid police speed traps.

By 1906 the AA took a stand on road safety issues, and erected thousands of roadside warning signs.

In 1907 the first AA patrols go on duty (using bicycles) in order to warn motorists of police speed traps ahead.

In 1908 the AA published the AA Members’ Special Handbook, a list of nationwide agents and mechanics. The following year saw the introduction of the AA’s free legal system.

Info gleaned from Wikipedia

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