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Hutcheson becomes first full FMCSA leader since 2019

Sept. 26, 2022
The fourth acting administrator in three years, Hutcheson was confirmed by the Senate to lead trucking’s regulatory body. The new leader said she wants the agency to focus on roadway safety and closing registration loopholes for high-risk carriers.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has a Senate-confirmed leader for the first time in three years. Robin Hutcheson, whom President Joe Biden nominated in April, was confirmed by a unanimous consent vote on Sept. 22.

Hutcheson served as the fourth acting leader of FMCSA, trucking’s regulatory arm, since Raymond Martinez, a Trump administration appointee, resigned in 2019. In June, Hutcheson’s nomination was unanimously approved by the Senate Commerce, Science, & Transportation committee. In her spring Senate testimony, she said she wanted to stress roadway safety as administrator.

She has been acting administrator since January. Before that, Hutcheson was deputy assistant transportation secretary for safety policy, where she headed the National Roadway Safety Strategy. Hutcheson has said she wants FMCSA to increase its investigations into high-risk carriers and invest in technology to close registration loopholes. 

See also: FMCSA wants to study how drivers interact with automated systems

“In her time as acting administrator, Robin has been a true partner with our industry—working to confront a number of issues facing trucking,” Chris Spear, American Trucking Associations president and CEO, said after the confirmation vote. 

“Whether it is addressing safety concerns, ongoing supply chain issues, or workforce development, she has been open to engaging with our industry, and we look forward to continuing our ongoing, candid dialogue about these challenges and to engaging with her and her agency to implement solutions that uphold safety and improve efficiency in trucking and across the supply chain,” Spear said.

See also: FMCSA seeks comments on ELD revisions

A former Minneapolis director of public works, Hutcheson worked on Biden’s infrastructure bill in 2021 while working in the U.S. Department of Transportation. She was FMCSA’s fourth consecutive acting administrator. Biden’s previous nominee and acting FMCSA administrator, Meera Joshi, took a job as a deputy mayor of New York City after her 2021 senate confirmation hearing—before any vote was held on her nomination. Two Trump nominees after Martinez resigned were never considered by the Senate.

“Now, more than ever, Americans are acutely tuned in to how our goods get to our homes—from the flour for the bread we eat, the clothes we wear, the bed we sleep in—we all have a better understanding that it probably came on a truck,” Hutcheson told senators during her June nomination hearing. “People—in this case, drivers—are the most important part of the industry. It is a difficult job, and men and women have been working long hours to literally keep our economy rolling in the face of unprecedented challenges.”

This article originally appeared on FleetOwner.com.

About the Author

Josh Fisher | Technology Editor

Josh Fisher is the technology editor for Fleet Owner.

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