100 Millionth Breakdown

Non-starter leads to historic presentation

Crystal Walter with AA Patrol Andy McMorran One of 15 million members, Crystal Walter (25) from Earl's Court, London, made history when she called out the AA after her Renault Clio failed to start.

"I left London early for a breakfast meeting with a client in Southampton, came out and when I went to start the engine, nothing happened – it turned out to be a loose connection on the battery."

This momentous milestone in the AA's 102 year history was attended by patrol Scott Illman.

"I got the instruction to attend the breakdown on Wednesday lunchtime, so headed off," he said. "After about 10 minutes the manager in the ops centre phoned me to say that I was about to attend the 100 millionth breakdown! I couldn't believe my luck! It is amazing to be involved in such a key part of the AA's history."


Crystal Walter with AA Patrol Andy McMorran and his 1970 Austin Minor van Crystal was today presented with a commemorative historical AA badge to mark the occasion and was given one year's free cover. She's been a member of the UK's biggest membership organisation since she passed her driving test in 1999.

With around 3,000 dedicated patrols the AA dealt with over 3.5 million breakdowns last year alone.

On being the 100 millionth breakdown, Ms Walter, a recruitment consultant, commented: "It's great to be a little part of history. I've called the AA out on a number of occasions and they've always got me back on the road."

The presentation was made by AA patrol Andy McMorran who has been with the AA for 17 years and looks after one of the AA's historical vehicles, a 1970 Austin Minor van.

Tim Parker, chief executive of the AA, commented. "The AA has come a long way since the early days of 'cycle scouts' but the core principles of the organisation have never wavered.

We're here to serve our members and champion the cause of motorists. Last month the quality of our service was recognised when we won the best breakdown service at the Fleet News Awards. Passing the 100 millionth breakdown mark is a great way to follow up that success."

Countdown to 100 million

Crystal Walter with AA Patrol Andy McMorran The AA was established in 1905. Historical records indicate approximate numbers of roadside attendances up until World War II. The AA used these historical records to establish a pre-war base number of 5.1 million.

After the War, more accurate records were kept, although annual totals were generally rounded up to the nearest 50,000; hence by the end of the century, the accumulated total stood at approximately 82 million.

Since then the AA has been able to keep tabs on the moving total and last year the organisation started to follow the moving cumulative total in anticipation of the 100 millionth breakdown.

The five main causes of breakdowns have remained the same today as they were more than 100 years ago – running out of petrol, running out of water, flat tyre, flat battery and lost keys.

In 1905 the first 'cycle scouts', whose primary job was to warn of speed traps, would lend a hand where they could, even if it was just helping to change a wheel. They very soon were given small toolkits to help more.


27 April 2007