Strickland favored to head NHTSA

| 12/15/2009

The U.S. Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee didn’t waste any time planning a confirmation hearing that is likely to name David Strickland to head the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. He is, after all, one of their own.

The hearing was scheduled for 2:30 p.m. ET on Dec. 15.

Strickland has served on the commerce committee staff and as the lead counsel overseeing NHTSA for more than eight years. Strickland is senior counsel of the commerce committee's consumer protection subcommittee and the Senate’s leading staff expert on fuel economy and vehicle safety. He played a lead role in the passage of several major pieces of legislation related to NHSTA – including SAFETEA-LU, the Highway Bill Reauthorization, which was passed in 2005. Strickland also served as the lead Senate staffer and negotiator on the Corporate Average Fuel Economy title of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007. This major legislation was the first mandated increase in CAFE standards in 30 years.

Strickland is President Obama's second nominee for the post. The first, Charles Hurley, CEO of Mothers Against Drunk Driving, withdrew. DC blogs claim that Hurley questioned “the wisdom of higher CAFE standards,” which set environmentalists “howling.”

The Commerce Committee is chaired by Sen. John D. (Jay) Rockefeller IV, D-WV.

In a statement to the press last week, Chairman Rockefeller said: “I am extremely pleased that President Obama has nominated David to be the head of NHTSA. He is well-respected by the members of the Commerce Committee and all of the stakeholders who work with NHTSA, including the industry, safety advocates, and environmental groups. The agency is in need of strong leadership, and David is an outstanding selection for this position as well as an asset to the administration.”

NHTSA was established by the Highway Safety Act of 1970 to carry out safety programs previously administered by the National Highway Safety Bureau. Specifically, the agency directs the highway safety and consumer programs established by the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 1966, the Highway Safety Act of 1966, the 1972 Motor Vehicle Information and Cost Savings Act, and succeeding amendments to these laws.

Compiled by Land Line staff