US: Senate confirms new leader of the NHTSA image

The Obama administration, following a year-long hiatus, finally elected a suitable candidate to lead the US auto safety regulator – NHTSA – and now Mark Rosekind’s nomination was confirmed by the US Senate.

The vacancy was so far filled by David Friedman, the agency’s deputy administrator, after the former leader, David Strickland resigned and returned to private practice. In the mean time, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration had a rough ride – early in the year General Motors acknowledged it failed to report a deadly flaw in its cars for at least a decade and now the world in general and the US in particular have been taken by storm by the Takata airbag recalls.

Rosekind, a former NASA official and member of the National Transportation Safety Board, will become the leader of the safety agency just as the NHTSA struggles to find the root cause of the Takata airbag flaw, which can cause inflators to explode with too much force and spray metal shards inside the cabin. So far, the faulty airbags have been linked to five fatalities, numerous injuries and have affected more than 13 million vehicles in America since 2008. Rosekind, a well known expert on human fatigue, would face pressure from the US legislators to crack down the automakers’ practices on safety issues – as the agency itself was called into question why the problems with GM and Takata were not addressed before spiraling into massive recalls.

Via Automotive News