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History of JAA

The Jamaica Automobile Association was founded in 1924, with the establishment of a Jamaica Motor Club, by 14 individuals and enthusiasts, with the primary intent of promoting motoring and motor racing in the island. Membership was initially open exclusively to business owners who had imported cars into Jamaica, but after several years it opened its doors to all motorists and changed its name to the Automobile Association of Jamaica.

Over the years, it has constantly evolved and has played a key role in providing information to people interested in driving or owning cars, as well as lobbying for road safety.

The company became a member of FIA (Federation Internationale de l’Automobile) in 1976 and in 2002, adopted its current name and structure. In 2005, the former Jamaica National Building Society acquired 100% of the JAA and a new company was established, the Jamaica Automobile Association (Services) Limited.

Today, the Jamaica Automobile Association is the country’s premier motoring body and has become a well known and reputable organisation, dedicated t the promotion and protection of life and property. Its primary role is automotive in nature, but it also provides services that are relevant to all road users.

Since 1924, the JAA has kept true to its core function and continues its lobbying and public service role over and above the essential services it provides for more than 30,000 members today. The Association, while recognising its rich history, embraces modern opportunities by adapting cutting-edge technology to provide 24 hour, all-island roadside and emergency service through use of a full service call centre. Its mobile units, known for their flashy canary yellow colour, are fully stocked with equipment to provide all the services the members need, including a quiet place to sit and complete requisite paperwork depending on the situation.


As a member of the Federation Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA), the world governing body for motorsports, all JAA member have access to a worldwide network of clubs, and are entitled to receive emergency roadside assistance in 50 reciprocating countries.

JAA members also receive discounts and savings internationally through the “Show Your Card & Save” programme, by simply presenting the JAA member card.


The Jamaica Automobile Association (JAA) was established on December 15, 1924, to fill the void left by the closure of the Jamaica Motor Club. On that day, a 15-man executive team, led by A. W. Farquharson was elected, and the JAA went into operation. With a subscription fee of two guineas and an annual fee of two pounds, the formation of the club was heralded in the columns of The Gleaner even before its rules were finalized.
Within a three-month period, the JAA membership spanned the island. His Excellency, the Governor, had also consented to be the Patron of the Association, and Vice Patrons included notable historical figures such as Hon. J.A.G Smith, Hon. Col. H. Bryan, Hon. Chas Hope Levy and Hon. W. Coke-Kerr.


One hundred and thirty- seven members were registered by the meeting on March 10, 1925, and the club has grown from strength to strength since then. The club expanded its individual membership category to include corporate membership, with the first companies to join being Jamaica Public Service, Bank of Nova Scotia and the Motor Company (1923) Limited.

Beyond the core member service requirements of roadside and emergency services, the JAA executive had a broader perspective of their role from the beginning.

At that time, the other services included:

  • registration and appointment of repair shops to be used by members;
  • registration of chauffeurs wishing to be listed as qualified drivers;
  • registration and taxation of motor cars.

The JAA also became renowned for its lobbying activity in the areas of road safety and regulations for road system planning and usage. To this end, there were also resolutions regarding the formation of committees to draft suggestions and regulations for head lights; registration for motor cars, methods of notifying tourists of car rental costs, speed limit, improvement of roads and increased taxation on motor cars.

The JAA’s attention soon turned to consideration of the process of punishment for misuse of the roadways. With only an estimated 2,000 motor vehicles in use in the island, the complaints of road misuse started in March, 1925 with the reporting of “buses and drays” that were driving on the wrong side of the road. The first complaint of a private vehicle came a little later when the driver of a Studebaker A-692 was cited for road violations on May 5, 1925.

1927 - 1933

In addition to the increasing incidence of traffic disorder, the ‘Safety First’ Board was formed in 1927, and this led to the subsequent production of the ‘Safety First’ film in 1928.
The JAA’s international alliances were not confined to first world countries, as the Association gave valuable assistance and counsel to its Caribbean neighbour, the Trinidad Automobile Association (TAA) in 1930. This regional cooperative effort later resulted in the latter Association forging closers links with its Government and yielding significant increases in the TAA’s scope of operations and revenue by 1933.


The JAA became a member of the FIA (Federation Internationale de l’Automobile) in 1976.

2002 - 2005

In 2002, the Jamaica Automobile Association adopted its current name and structure.

The discussion by the Jamaica National Building Society (JNBS) to acquire the JAA began in 2002 but intensified in 2004. The JN team that spearheaded the discussions for the acquisition of the JAA were Earl Jarrett, then General Manager of the former Jamaica National Building Society (JNBS), Errol Ziadie, then General Manager of NEM Insurance Company (now rebranded as JN General Insurance Company), Philip Bernard, Business Development Consultant and Byron Ward, Company Secretary, both with JNBS.

At an Extraordinary General Meeting held December 30, 2004, by a majority vote of JAA members, JNBS acquired the The Jamaica Automobile Association Services Ltd. (JAAS) and the Jamaica Automobile Association Foundation (JAAF).

In 2005, the Jamaica National Building Society acquired 100% of the JAA and a new company was established, the Jamaica Automobile Association (Services) Limited.


In 2006, the JAA supported the FIA proposal and campaign for the first ever Global Ministerial Conference on Road Safety and approval by the UN for a Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011-2020.


Global ‘Make Roads Safe’ Campaign

In 2008, the Jamaica Automobile Association, in concert with the FIA Foundation, called on the United Nations to recognise road safety as a barrier to development globally, and take action through the signing of a petition to ‘Make Roads Safe’. Prime Minister Bruce Golding was a signatory on the petition. The ‘Make Roads Safe’ global initiative was started and a special period for focusing on safety around the world started in April 2007. The United Nations (UN) Global Road Safety Week aims to build awareness of the effects of accidents on the world population and particularly children.


On August 6, 2008, when Jamaica celebrated 46 years of Independence from British rule, the Jamaica Automobile Association (JAA) had pride of place at the helm of a spectacular national parade. Amidst the celebrations, the Jamaica Automobile Association and the Jamaica Millennium Motoring Club (JMMC), another local member of the FIA, etched a distinct message of ‘yellow means road safety’ while showing off some of Jamaica’s most prominent racing machines to the celebrating audience.


Decade of Action for Global Road Safety

The United Nations (UN) Decade of Action for Global Road Safety, 2011-2020, was spearheaded by the FIA Foundation, the philanthropic and corporate social responsibility arm of the Federation Internationale de L’Automobile (FIA). The Decade emerged out of a petition to the United Nations by the Foundation and was established to create increased global focus on road safety and related issues.
In 2011, the JAA spearheaded a partnership with athlete, Asafa Powell, who signed the UN declaration, endorsing the Decade of Action for Global Road Safety campaign, with the aim to reduce road fatalities in Jamaica.


Zenani Mandela Campaign for Road Safety

Jamaicans from all walks of life showed their support for the Zenani Mandela campaign for Road Safety by posing for photographs wearing the Zenani wrist band and the Decade of Action Tag at the JN Jamaica International Invitational Track and Field Meet, held on May 5, 2012 at the National Stadium. This activity formed part of the JAA road safety advocacy efforts.

The Zenani Mandela Campaign for Road Safety, a UN Decade of Action for Road Safety initiative, aims to improve road safety for children in South Africa and other emerging and developing economies. Zenani Mandela, the great-granddaughter of former South African President, Nelson Mandela, was killed in a car crash in 2010.


Safe Driving Saves Lives

With road fatalities surpassing the figure of 260 in 2012, the Jamaica Automobile Association (JAA) launched its “Safe Driving Saves Lives” campaign to increase the awareness of motorists about the importance of safe driving during the holiday season. The “Safe Driving Saves Lives” campaign was guided by the Ten Golden Rules developed by the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA), the governing body for world motor sport.


The Jamaica Automobile Association (JAA), in partnership with the Jamaica Race Drivers’ Club (JRDC), staged a ‘Long Short Walk for Road Safety’ at the Dover Race Track in St Ann on August 3, 2014, to reaffirm the importance of road safety among racers, patrons, and the Jamaican public, at large.

The Long Short Walk campaign is an initiative of the Commission for Global Road Safety to highlight the need for improvements in pedestrian protection and better road safety. The objective of the Jamaican campaign is to encourage greater levels of awareness about safe road use, particularly among patrons who attend the event.


JAA merges with Manufacturers Credit & Information Services (MCIS)

On December 15, 2016, the Jamaica Automobile Association (JAA) and the Manufacturers Credit & Information Services Limited (MCIS), both subsidiaries of the former Jamaica National Building Society (JNBS), were merged under the JAA brand. This merger gave the JAA marketing and delivery responsibilities for the ADVANCE card and its vehicle expense and fleet management services, formerly offered by MCIS since 1991, along with other related customer-engagement activities.


Road Safety Hub

In 2017, the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) and The Jamaica National Group partnered to establish a new state-of-the-art Road Safety Hub at the Elletson Road Police Station in Kingston. The Road Safety Hub was made possible through a public-private partnership with the Jamaica Automobile Association (JAA), JN General Insurance Company (JNGI), the JN Foundation, and the FIA Foundation.

Avi Silverman, deputy director of the Federation Internationale de L’Automobile (FIA) Foundation, who visited Jamaica for the Child Health Initiative/NRSC Safety Policy Forum, toured the Road Safety Hub. “What is amazing in Jamaica is the level of collaboration among the police, the National Works Agency, the Mona Geoinformatics Institute, and the private sector. It is incredible,” he said, as he observed the real-time road crash and network data, which is available to the Traffic and Highway Division of the JCF.


The Jamaica Automobile Association proudly celebrates 95 years of #KeepingYouMobile.


The JAA will celebrate 100 years of service to Jamaica on December 15, 2024.