President Obama’s nominee to head the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration faced questions from his first Senate panel this week as part of the confirmation process. Mark Rosekind, who is a sleep and fatigue specialist and current board member of the National Transportation Safety Board, appeared before the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee on Wednesday, Dec. 3.
Automobile safety recalls, a big part of NHTSA’s responsibility, took up a large chunk of the Q&A. There were no direct questions about trucking or truck safety, but Rosekind said he would look at all aspects of vehicle and driver safety with a “critical eye.” He said his experience as a crash investigator and board member with the National Transportation Safety Board would help NHTSA as an agency.
If approved by other Senate committees and confirmed by the Senate as a whole, Rosekind would become NHTSA administrator under the U.S. Department of Transportation. NHTSA has gone without a full-time administrator since David Strickland left nearly a year ago.
NHTSA enforces performance standards for vehicles and equipment, investigates defects and conducts research on driver behavior under the umbrella of highway safety.
The administration has also been in charge of fuel economy for cars since 1975. In 2011, President Obama paired NHTSA with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to develop the first ever standards for fuel economy and greenhouse gas emissions for medium- and heavy-duty trucks.
The rule targets a 20 percent savings in fuel and emissions at the manufacturing level during model years 2014 through 2018 – much of it through the use of existing technologies. The agencies are currently working on a second rule for vehicles beyond 2018 that would incorporate trailers into the mix.
Prior to becoming a board member with the National Transportation Safety Board in 2010, Rosekind was founder, president and chief scientist of Alertness Solutions, a company that researches, develops and markets technological “solutions” to combating fatigue.
Click here to read more about Rosekind and his nomination.
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