US government ready to name new NHTSA boss image

According to Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, the Obama administration is edging closer to the moment the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration finally gets a new permanent chief.

Foxx commented on the matter, saying the announcement on the decision should come “soon” – which means that Deputy Administrator David Friedman (the interim chief) could get appointed permanently to the top position.

“This is the president’s call and I think we’re real close,” Foxx has been quoted saying. According to the Transportation Secretary, the administration had been working diligently on the matter for several months. Friedman became the interim chief of the US auto safety regulator after NHTSA chief David Strickland left the office to join a Washington law firm. So far, Firedman was only allowed to be the agency’s interim boss for 210 days (which expired), but remains the top official because he is the Deputy Administrator.

The task to oversee the NHTSA comes at a critical moment, with the agency in September under scrutiny from US Senators because of the General Motors ignition switch recall debacle. Also, the agency has been called to better enforce safety rules as automakers have surpassed all previous records when it comes to auto recall campaigns.