The NHTSA Might Finally Get That Lead Administrator It's Been Missing

the nhtsa might finally get that lead administrator its been missing

It’s been over a year since the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration had someone officially running the show. While plenty of political appointments have been held up by Senate approval, the NHTSA is one President Trump has neglected since taking office. Former General Electric executive Heidi King has been the Deputy Administrator since September, and will be the one Trump taps to assume overall leadership of the agency. It’s about time.

The NHTSA has to cope with the planned fuel efficiency changes, oversee the neverending Takata airbag recalls, and start doing some damage control with autonomous vehicle development. While the recall issues are likely to remain business as usual, the current administration has pursued lax standards for both autonomous safety and corporate efficiency rules — and both have seen growing opposition.

Entire states are already pushing back against the proposed fuel efficiency rollbacks and there have been two fatalities involving self-driving and semi-autonomous technology within the last month. Because of this, promoting King might be a wise choice. Her corporate ties have some people concerned she’ll go easy on businesses, but at least she already has some experience in dealing with the big issues.

King dispatched investigative teams to both the fatal Uber crash and the life-ending highway incident involving Tesla’s Autopilot system last month, and is already handling questions regarding the fuel rollbacks. “It will be a proposal that will stimulate dialogue, robust listening to the data and the stakeholders that should inform a decision before we go to a final rule stage,” King said of the efficiency changes in March.

In addition to her corporate history, King previously served in the White House’s Office of Management and Budget and spent two years as chief economist on the House Energy and Commerce Committee. On paper, she seems qualified for the job. But few expect her to rattle any cages on policy. There have been few indications that she’ll encourage the NHTSA to reevaluate Vision 2.0 or challenge the Department of Transportation to be harder on autonomous testing.

However, King does seem committed to the cause and says her biggest challenge will be ensuring swift and seamless safety recalls. She has previously said more needs to be done to address the nearly 30 million U.S. vehicles that remain unfixed in the Takata air bag inflator recalls, as they still pose a serious danger to motorists.

King’s appointment as head of the NHTSA is subject to Senate approval, meaning it could be a while before the position is officially filled.

[Image: U.S. Department of Transportation]

Comments
Join the conversation
 3 comments
  • Stingray65 Stingray65 on Apr 06, 2018

    Yea, but what about that Russian collusion and Stormy Daniels and racism and...?

    • See 1 previous
    • Stingray65 Stingray65 on Apr 07, 2018

      @Luke42 That is the best thing about Trump - most of the agencies in DC should be shut down or at the very least SEVERELY downsized. Unelected bureaucrats that can't be fired, and typically with far leftist agendas need to be booted out so they can see what the "real world" is like where you need to earn a profit to survive, and where you don't get a gold plated pension after 20 years of "service".

  • EBFlex What a colossal waste of money. But this installed administration has yet to spend one cent on something that is actually useful and actually leads to some progress. But apparently this is just what we need….a bunch of extremely overpriced but short ranged busses. It’s amazing that all our problems are solved that they have time to waste money on these little pet projects.
  • Hector How much for steering column?
  • John S. Beautiful car, fun series installment, Corey.
  • FreedMike Any link to the grant applications that were denied?
  • FreedMike I'm amazed it took this long for them to do a Challenger convertible.
Next