Safety Patrol Movement
In the 1920s, AAA clubs helped organize a program whereby older students assist younger ones with crossing streets on their way to and from school. The safety patrol concept spread quickly to communities and schools nationwide.
AAA clubs supply training materials, belts, badges and other items needed to operate a School Safety Patrol Program. AAA promotes and recognizes patrol efforts each year through a series of awards, newsletters, summer camps and scholarships.
School Safety Patrol members are select elementary- and middle-school students who volunteer to guide and protect their classmates against traffic hazards. Millions of people have served as safety patrol members in the U.S. and in 30 other nations.
The symbols of the AAA School Safety Patrol Program are the fluorescent electric-lime belt and shoulder strap, previously orange, worn by patrol members in most communities. A metal badge bearing the AAA emblem often is attached. The belt is easily seen and conveys the need for caution to motorists and pedestrians.
The national pedestrian death rate per 100,000 children aged 5 - 14 has fallen by 93 percent since 1935 (the first year records were kept). Children in this age group used to have the second highest fatality rate of any age group; today they have the lowest. AAA safety experts credit School Safety Patrol Programs with making a strong contribution to this significant improvement.
AAA Lifesaving Medal Award
The AAA School Safety Patrol Lifesaving Medal Award is the highest honor given to members of the school safety patrol. The award is presented annually to patrol members who, while on duty, saved the life of someone in imminent danger.
The award was initiated in 1949 by AAA to recognize and honor school safety patrol members for the heroic lifesaving actions in their communities.
There have been over 370 boys and girls from 31 states and the District Columbia honored with the AAA Lifesaving Medal. Many recipients have put their own lives in danger to save others. Their split-second decisions demonstrate the highest degree of moral and physical courage.
The Lifesaving Medal is awarded by an independent review board to a member of any authorized School Safety Patrol when there is conclusive proof that:
- The life of the person saved was in imminent danger;
- The act was performed while the patrol member was on duty, going to or from a duty post, or while on duty as a bus patrol member;
- No negligence on the part of the patrol member caused or contributed to the person rescued being in danger.
The AAA Lifesaving Medal has been presented by U.S. Presidents Ford, Johnson, Kennedy and Eisenhower; Vice Presidents Mondale, Humphrey, Nixon and Barkley; First Lady Mamie Eisenhower, justices of the U.S. Supreme Court; cabinet officials and other dignitaries.