WASHINGTON – The White House announced on Tuesday that President Joe Biden will withdraw his nomination for acting director of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), taking the post as permanent head.
The White House declined to comment and didn’t say why.
Ann Carlson, the agency’s chief legal counsel, was named acting NHTSA director in September and was formally named head of the agency in March.
She has overseen Tesla’s safety research, airbag ruptures, reducing traffic fatalities, and increasing fuel efficiency requirements for vehicles.
U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg said Carlson would continue to work for NHTSA, but did not give a reason for the withdrawal.
“Mr Ann’s service helps advance NHTSA’s mission to save lives and reduce the economic cost of road accidents,” Buttigieg said in a statement. U.S. road fatalities will rise 10.5% to 42,915 in 2021, the highest number of U.S. road fatalities in a single year since 2005, but will fall 0.3% in 2022.
Carlson did not respond to a request for comment.
Her nomination has faced strong opposition, with 13 Republicans on the Senate Commerce Committee earlier this month criticizing her role in setting 2021 fuel efficiency standards. They told Carlson that her criteria “aligned with your long career as an environmental activist without road safety.” experience. “
NHTSA will soon propose new fuel economy standards for 2027 and beyond.
Jonathan Adkins, president of the nonprofit Governors Highway Safety Association, which represents state and territory highway safety agencies, said the group was deeply disappointed by the withdrawal of Carlson’s nomination.
“GHSA urges the Biden administration to nominate a readily identifiable individual with a strong security background,” Adkins wrote on Twitter.
Carlson took over NHTSA after Stephen Cliff stepped down in September 2022. Cliff was appointed NHTSA’s deputy director in February 2021 and ran NHTSA on behalf until approval in May 2022.
For most of the past six years, NHTSA has had no Senate-approved administrator.
The Trump administration has never had a confirmed candidate for the post of NHTSA director, and has been without a candidate for most of the four years. The Biden administration has struggled to gain approval for many of the leading transportation candidates in the narrowly-married U.S. Senate.