US: NHTSA nominee Rosekind approved by Senate image

Mark Rosekind, the White House nominee to be the next leader of the US auto safety regulator, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, has been cleared by the Senate Commerce Committee.

Rosekind, a member of the National Transportaton Safety Board, was scrutinized last week during a nomination hearing in front of the panel and now the committee formally accepted him in a voice vote off the Senate floor late yesterday. Both parties iin the US had been asking the Obama administration to name a successor for NHTSA’s top position, as the agency has been intensely criticized for its reactions to the two massive auto safety recall crises – the GM ignition switch debacle and the Takata airbag inflator issues.

David Strickland, the last administrator, quit the NHTSA almost a year now, and the agency has been in the public eye all year. It was first questioned about the lack of response to GM’s ignition switch mess, as the company withheld a deadly vehicle flaw for more than a decade. Later this year, the US regulator was again called into question because of its handling of the Takata airbag recall. The Japanese auto safety parts supplier has even moved to disobey an express order of the agency, with the NHTSA calling for a nationwide expanse of what was until now an “investigatory” regional safety campaign.