About the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety

The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety was founded in 1947 by AAA to conduct research to address growing highway safety issues. The organization’s mission is to identify traffic safety problems, foster research that seeks solutions and disseminate information and educational materials. 

Entering construction zone mergeThe Foundation has funded over 250 projects designed to discover the causes of traffic crashes, prevent them, and minimize injuries when they do occur. Knowledge is the first step to becoming a better driver. The Foundation's studies have shown that understanding the risks of driving and one's own limitations can prevent crashes. The Foundation's materials seek to give drivers new skills, sharpen old ones, and change attitudes as the first step to changing behaviors. Additionally, AAAFTS research is used to create focused, high-impact educational materials for drivers, pedestrians, bicyclists and road users of all ages. 

AAAFTS has grown considerably during the past six decades. Initially emphasizing projects related to safety patrols and driver education, today the Foundation is recognized as a leader in traffic safety, being cited for its landmark studies on distracted driving and creating a conversation on traffic safety culture publishing its annual safety culture survey. Over time the Foundation has expanded its scope and diversified areas of concentration while still focusing on AAA priority issues which include senior safety and mobility, teen driving, road safety and safety culture.  

This brochure spotlights research projects conducted since 2001.

Mission Statement

 "To identify traffic safety problems, foster research that seeks solutions, and disseminate information and educational materials."

AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety's mission statement provides the framework for all of its research serves as the guide during the research identification and selection process. 

Foundation News

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Meet Our Staff

C. Y. David Yang, Ph.D, Executive Director
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As Executive Director of the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, Dr. David Yang oversees all aspects of the foundation’s operations and research agenda. Dr. Yang previously served as the Human Factors Team Leader in the Office of Safety Research and Development of the Federal Highway Administration where he led a multidisciplinary team at Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center to conduct transportation safety studies.  In addition to being a widely published transportation expert with over 40 technical publications in prominent journals, he chairs two committees of the National Academies Transportation Research Board. Dr. Yang attended Purdue University and received his Bachelor of Science, Master of Science, and Doctor of Philosophy degrees in the field of civil engineering. His doctoral dissertation used principles of human information processing and human factors to develop design recommendations for Advanced Traveler Information Systems.

Lindsay S. Arnold, Research Associate
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Lindsay recently completed a post-graduate public health fellowship in the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) Office of Behavioral Safety Research and is actively involved with several Transportation Research Board committees. Prior to her NTSHA fellowship, she conducted research at the Safe Transportation Research and Education Center at UC Berkeley while earning her Master of Public Health.

Areatha Coleman, Coordinator of Research and Education
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Areatha Coleman is responsible for Accounting and fundraising duties for the Foundation, along with assisting in preparations for AAA Foundation events. Before joining the Foundation in October of 2015, Areatha worked with AAA National office as the Receptionist/Traffic Safety Coordinator and was also Coordinator for the School Safety Program.  Previously, Areatha worked for The United States Capitol Police Dignitary Protection Division.  She served as the Administrative Assistant to the Captain, Deputy Chief, Inspector, Lieutenants and Supervisory Sergeants.

Laura Dunn, Manager, Research and Communications
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Before joining AAAFTS in 2015, Laura completed a post-graduate fellowship with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) Offices of Impaired Driving and Occupant Protection, where she worked on child passenger safety, adult occupant protection and impaired driving projects. Prior to her fellowship, Laura worked for the Illinois Department of Transportation – Division of Traffic Safety as a traffic safety liaison, becoming a Certified Child Passenger Safety Technician Instructor in 2010. She then worked for Saint Louis Children’s Hospital as a program assistant for pediatric injury prevention programming, and as a Certified Child Passenger Safety Technician.  She also worked with the Nurses for Newborns Foundation during her graduate studies to develop a pediatric injury prevention toolkit for home visitation clients. She has a B.S. in Health Science from Truman State University and Master of Public Health from Saint Louis University.

Jurek Grabowski, Research Director
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As an injury epidemiologist specializing in new methodological procedures, Jurek is interested in crash causation and outcomes, with an emphasis on risk factors identification and policy intervention. With 10 years of research experience he has published over 30 original peer-reviewed research articles. He joined AAA Foundation as the Research Director in 2010 where he manages large scale projects in the research portfolio as well as the identification of research needs solicitation process with AAA which has led to the selection and approval of such projects as teen distraction, cognitive distractions & in-car technologies and driver education.

John E. Hoch III (Jack), Webmaster
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Jack joined the Foundation in March of 2000 as a full time webmaster.  Having graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1983, Jack spent 5 years in the nuclear submarine force prior to working for a web development firm.  Jack’s primary duties include managing all aspects of the Foundation’s websites, computers and networks as well as spearheading technically-oriented projects like Driver-ZED. 

Brian Tefft, Senior Research Associate
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Brian conducts research on a wide variety of traffic safety issues at the AAA Foundation, employing state-of-the-art methods to identify real-world traffic safety problems, identify solutions, and evaluate their effectiveness. Brian has published his research in scientific journals including Accident Analysis & Prevention, the Journal of Safety Research, and Traffic Injury Prevention, and has presented his work at professional and scientific conferences including the annual meetings of the American Public Health Association, Governor’s Highway Safety Association, and Transportation Research Board. Brian holds a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Brown University and joined the AAA Foundation team in 2004.

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Board of Trustees

The AAA Foundation Traffic Safety is led by a Board of Trustees comprised of the following individuals.


Mark A. Shaw, Chairman (2018)
Tom McKernan, Vice Chairman (2018)
Don Gagnon, Secretary (2017)
Kathleen Bower, Asst. Secretary (2017)
Kenneth Johnson, Treasurer (2019)
Suzanne Bennett, Asst. Treasurer (2017)


Valerie Daniels-Carter*
Bob Darbelnet (2019)
David Hughes (2019)
Don Main*
Carol Ormond (2017)
Joe Richardson (2019)
Paul Petrillo, Chair Emeritus (2018)
Mark H. Shaw (2017)

*Ex-Officio Members
( ) Signifies Term End Date

Foundation Oversight

The Foundation's funds come from many sources. As an IRS-certified, tax-exempt, not-for-profit charitable organization (section 501(c)(3)), it is funded by voluntary, tax deductible contributions from motor clubs associated with the American Automobile Association and the Canadian Automobile Association, individual AAA club members, insurance companies, and other individuals or groups, often as a memorial to a family member or friends.

Audited Financials






990 Forms








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Annual Report

 2013 - 2014