Automotive Pioneer

AAA Washington was established in 1904 by 10 prominent Seattle businessmen with the mission of making automobile travel safe, comfortable and affordable. They soon led the effort in enacting laws to protect users of the public roads, erect directional signs and create legislation to provide for new transportation arteries. They were also active in drafting Washington's first traffic code requiring auto licensing, one lighted lamp for hours of darkness, a muffler, "good and efficient" brakes, a bell or horn, and speed limits of 12 m.p.h. in city and 24 m.p.h. on the open road. Though the requirements were few, they were a substantial accomplishment considering the state of the day's roads. A century later the fruits of their labor are still visible throughout our state.

Paving the Road Ahead

In addition to our renowned Premier Road Service, AAA offers travel, insurance, financial and automotive services, and is active in highway and transportation safety programs. Our continued leadership in all facets of motoring has made us the most respected service-oriented organization in the Northwest.

Our History

This timeline shows how AAA has helped lead the way in all facets of automotive history and is poised to continue paving the road ahead.


Historical Event


The Automobile Club of Seattle is formed September 23.


The club helps draft the state’s first traffic code, requiring licensing, a muffler, “one lighted lamp during darkness,” good and efficient brakes and a horn.


The signing of streets, roads and highways receives its initial impetus when the club and members donate 500 directional road signs.


The club’s first organized road trip was to Cohasset Beach in November.


The club promotes automobile travel in Mount Rainier National Park, leading the way to motoring being allowed in other national parks.


The club publishes its first tour book featuring destinations in western Washington.


The Inland Automobile Association is formed covering eastern Washington and northern Idaho.


All automobile clubs in central and western Washington unite under the name Automobile Club of Western Washington. Later, the club’s name is shortened to the Automobile Club of Washington.


The Aero Club of the Northwest, which was headed by Bill Boeing, rents desk space in the Auto Club’s Seattle office building. This sparks the auto club’s interest in air travel and concerns about adequate access to airports that will one day be built in the same state.


The club dispatches mapping crews to survey all highways as far as Salt Lake and Denver, up through the national parks in Montana and into Alberta and British Columbia. 

Washington’s first AAA School Safety Patrol was formed, two years after the introduction of the nationwide program.


The club contracts with “reputable garages” to offer emergency road service for members.


The Automobile Club Insurance Agency begins selling automobile insurance policies to members.


The club begins offering “air travel services” and advertises “trip planning anywhere in the world.”


The Tacoma Service Center becomes the headquarters for United Airlines, handling its reservations for travel throughout the country.


Lt. Col. Dwight D. Eisenhower joins the club while stationed at Ft. Lewis.


The club solicits members to volunteer for “Emergency Transport Duty” in the event of a military emergency evacuation.


Members urged to take shorter Sunday drives in light of national tire and gas rationing programs. Club provides trip routings for troops, military supplies and military families.


As World War II draws to a close, club suggest members delay auto travel trips since old cars and tires, maintained throughout war shortages, may not be able to complete trip.


Club supports a plan to build freeway linking Tacoma, Seattle and Everett, stating that future traffic demands make such a freeway imperative.


The AAA Travel Agency becomes known as the “Worldwide Travel Department” with ticketing available for 45 airlines, 24 steamship lines and all bus and rail lines.


The travel agency holds its first group tour, “Hula Holiday” to Hawaii, for 87 members.


The club offers special World’s Fair motel/hotel reservations that bring in 300 requests daily. The club also sponsors a special day at the fair for 1,500 school safety patrol students.


The club launches driving school, offering behind-the-wheel and classroom instruction.


Club broadcasts rush hour traffic reports on KIRO-AM.


Club inaugurates local loop tours map series, drawn by an in-house cartographer.


The club is a sponsor of the CAR Institute, which works to rehabilitate DWI offenders.


The first color picture appears on the front page of the Motorist.


The club launches “Gas Watchers Program” in response to national gasoline shortages caused by oil embargoes.


Club inspects auto repair shops and offers members Approved Auto Repair recommendations.


The club sponsors classes for the National Institute of Automotive Service Excellence, which trains and certifies mechanics.


The Automobile Club of Washington changes its name to AAA Washington.


The AAA Travel Agency charters the Concorde supersonic jet for the return trip on its first flight to the West Coast.


“AAA World of Travel” debuts on KIRO-TV. The number of AAA Washington Emergency Road Service calls dispatched during a three-day December snow storm equaled the total number of calls dispatched in 1947.


The club provides complimentary road service to Seahawk fans as part of the fan rescue program.


The club extends road service to some recreational vehicles as PlusRV.


The corporate office moves from Seattle to its current Bellevue location.


AAA Washington reaches 500,000 members


The club goes online with its first website hosted by AOL, and acquires its own website a year later.


The Motorist is converted into a bi-monthly glossy magazine called Journey.


Membership cards are changed into plastic, and AAA sponsors passing legislation to lower illegal BAC levels to .08 (from .1).


AAA Washington merges with the Inland Automobile Association, covering Washington and northern Idaho, and changing its name to AAA Washington/Inland.


AAA Washington/Inland has more than 830,000 members and nationally there are over 45 million AAA members.


AAA nationally achieves 50 million members.


AAA Washington partnered with Travelocity with the most advanced booking and information sources on the Internet.


AAA Washington hits a milestone with more than 1 million members and nationally there are over 52 million AAA members.


Kirk R. Nelson named AAA Washington President and CEO upon the retirement of Charlie Liekweg.


Emergency Road Service extended to cover bicycle service for all members.


AAA Washington launches new concept Cruise & Travel stores in Tacoma and Alderwood (combining former Lynnwood, Everett and Mill Creek stores).


AAA Washington Corporate Office moves to new building in Factoria neighborhood of Bellevue.


Celebrated 100-year of incorporation in Washington State (based on incorporation date of Automobile Club of Western Washington in 1917).

Opened a AAA Cruise & Travel store in downtown Bellevue (combining former Redmond and Bellevue stores).


Opened the Southcenter/Tukwila Cruise & Travel store, (combining Renton and Federal Way stores).


Opened the Mount Vernon Cruise & Travel store in a new location.


AAA School Safety Patrol program turns 100.


In celebration of AAA’s School Safety Patrol program’s 100th anniversary, Governor Inslee issued a proclamation naming March 1, 2021 “School Safety Patrol Day” across Washington.

Roadside Assistance Truck