Other than changing consumer tastes, no other group has more influence on automotive design and engineering than government agencies. Whether you see government influence in the automotive industry as positive or negative, there's no denying they have made their mark in Detroit and beyond. One of the most influential government agencies, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, is about to see a change in leadership as administrator David Strickland announced earlier this week he plans on stepping down, The Detroit News reports.
Strickland's tenure has been marked by a number of significant events, including the massive investigation and recall of Toyota Motor Company vehicles for unintended acceleration, the recall of 2.7 million Jeep SUVs, in which Chrysler made the unusual move of initially challenging the agency on the recall request, but ultimately agreed to a fix for the vehicle.
In addition to these high-profile cases, Strickland also oversaw the implementation of regulations regarding installation of seatbelts in commercial buses, the mandatory installation of event data recorders or "black boxes" in new cars, and minimum sound requirements for electric vehicles.
Under Strickland's guidance, the agency also became known for cracking down more aggressively on automakers for timely handling of recalls. In the immediate term following Strickland's departure, the agency's administrative responsibilities will be handed off to deputy director David Friedman.