Breakdown firm AA says it doesn't prioritise rescues based on gender alone

21 January 2022, 06:28

The AA has faced criticism over a poorly-worded tweet
The AA has faced criticism over a poorly-worded tweet. Picture: Alamy

By Asher McShane

The AA has faced criticism after a tweet was sent telling a woman who broke down at night that the organisation does not prioritise call outs based on gender.

A lone woman who broke down "at night in the dark" claimed on Twitter she had been told by an AA call handler that the firm treats lone women and men exactly the same because of "equality".

Dr Helen Mott said she would have to wait "alone in the dark" for around 90 minutes.

An AA spokesman confirmed in response to her tweet they have a risk-based approach and do not prioritise based on gender

The AA said it would "consider the location" in its assessment, meaning they would give preference to a person broken down on a motorway over someone in a car park.

This sparked an angry backlash from AA members. AA president Sir Edmund King also intervened, to say the firm gives priority to 'anyone at risk' and that he would advise his own daughter to get out of her car and wait if she broke down alone because the risk of being while in a stationary car is much higher than the risk of a random stranger attack.

An AA spokesman told MailOnline said the 'wording' of their response to Dr Mott 'wasn't great' and apologised.

Dr Mott said to the AA in her tweet last night: "Hi @TheAA_UK I am a lone woman whose car has broken down at night in the dark.

"Your call handler has told me you treat lone women and lone men as exactly the same priority in such circumstances because 'that's equality".

In another tweet, she added: "I will now wait alone in the dark for 90 minutes or more, something which as a lone woman nowhere near home is far more anxiety-provoking than it would be for a man, if you follow the news. I think your policies need a revamp."

In response, the AA said: "Hi Helen, you've been advised correctly. We don't prioritise based on gender, we do consider the location so as an example we would prioritise someone on a motorway over someone in a supermarket carpark."

A barrister who uses the @CrimeGirl Twitter handle then claimed she would be cancelling her membership.

She said: "The police prioritise lone females and so do the highways agency, because they recognise their sex places women AT RISK FROM MEN."

But a Metropolitan Police spokesman said their calls are risk assessed based on specific circumstances.

Another person wrote on Twitter: "Why not? Women are more vulnerable than men."

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A third wrote: "I have to say the same thing happened to me with the AA."

An AA spokeswoman said: 'We accept that the wording of our initial response wasn't great and have apologised.

"In fact, we prioritise anyone at risk but more often than not it will be lone women. In breakdowns involving lone women where there is any concern raised by the customer they receive the highest level of care and priority."