White House nominates sleep specialist to head NHTSA

By David Tanner, Land Line senior editor | 11/21/2014

President Obama has nominated Mark Rosekind, a federal crash investigator and longtime sleep and fatigue specialist, to head the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Since 2010, Rosekind has been a board member of the National Transportation Safety Board, an independent agency that investigates transportation crashes and makes recommendations to federal policymakers.

Prior to his position at the NTSB, Rosekind was founder, president and chief scientist of Alertness Solutions for 13 years. Alert Solutions researches, develops and markets technological “solutions” to combating fatigue in operational settings.

A graduate of Stanford and Yale, Rosekind led a fatigue countermeasures program for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), and was chief of a NASA program that studied human factors in aviation. He’s also been director of the Center for Human Sleep Research that studies sleep disorders.

If confirmed by the U.S. Senate, Rosekind would lead NHTSA, an administrative agency within the U.S. Department of Transportation that pushes for higher safety standards for motor vehicles and highway safety.

NHTSA has the authorization to conduct research, set policy and issue rulemakings. The administration also conducts safety recalls on vehicles and components. NHTSA also oversees corporate average fuel economy standards, known as CAFE standards for automobiles, and partners with the Environmental Protection Agency to develop fuel economy standards for medium- and heavy-duty trucks.

Former NHTSA Administrator David Strickland left the administration in January 2014 for a private-sector job. Deputy Administrator David Friedman has served as interim administrator.

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