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AAA ADOPTS POLICY TO HELP PREVENT LOCKOUTS

 ORLANDO, Fla., April 28 /PRNewswire/ -- Responding to a growing trend of motorists locking themselves out of their cars, the American Automobile Association today called on auto manufacturers to alter some door lock designs.
 More than 1,000 delegates attending AAA's 90th annual meeting here approved a new policy in response to the estimated 12 million lockouts that occur annually. Only 3 percent of AAA road service calls were for lockouts in 1975. Now more than 11 percent of AAA's 22.3 million road service calls are for lockouts.
 "Lockouts can be costly, inconvenient and at times a threat to a motorist's personal safety," said Darryl Wyland, senior vice president of AAA Public and Government Relations. "Other problems can result when a motorist is locked out with the car's engine running, or an infant or pet is locked inside."
 Vehicles that allow the driver-side door to be slam-locked promote the inadvertent locking of keys in vehicles, he said.
 Manufacturers can help alleviate this problem by producing vehicles with a driver-side door that requires locking from the outside with a key or that can be unlocked via a combination, electronic or other keyless locking device. Some manufacturers already offer these features.
 AAA estimates lockouts are costing Americans more than $400 million in direct and indirect costs each year, including lost time by motorists and payments to lock service specialists.
 "Part of the rise in lockouts is due to increased installation of automatic door locks on new cars and better lock systems," Wyland said. In 1975, fewer than 17 percent of new cars were equipped with power door locks. In 1991, 62 percent of new vehicles were equipped with power locks.
 "While power door locks have increased vehicle security, they also have made it easier to lock oneself out of the car," he said.
 AAA offers the following recommendations to help avoid lockouts:
 -- Always use a key to lock your vehicle.
 -- Carry a spare key in your purse or wallet.
 -- Keep your keys in your pants or skirt rather than a jacket that
 can be left in the car.
 -- Keep the identification number of the key on a piece of paper
 in your wallet, so it can be duplicated easily.
 -- Give an extra set of keys to family members or friends traveling
 with you.
 -- Keep an extra key at work or any other place you spend
 significant time.
 -- Let an expert retrieve your keys. If you're in a hurry, take a
 cab. It's cheaper than a broken lock.
 AAA is a not-for-profit federation of 139 motor clubs with more than 1,000 offices in the U.S. and Canada providing 34 million members with travel, insurance, financial and auto-related services.
 -0- 4/28/93
 /CONTACT: Jerry Cheske or Geoff Sundstrom of the American Automobile Association, 407-444-8000/


CO: American Automobile Association ST: Florida IN: AUT SU:

AW-JB -- FL008 -- 2005 04/28/93 12:06 EDT
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Date:Apr 28, 1993
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