Obama Nominates NTSB Board Member Mark Rosekind to Lead NHTSA

President Obama has nominated National Transportation Safety Board member Mark Rosekind to become the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration’s administrator, both the Detroit News and Reuters have reported. Rosekind, described as a “transportation expert,” joined the NTSB four years ago. The board investigates major transportation accidents.

Rosekind is described at the NTSB website as a “fatigue expert.” He founded Alertness Solutions, a scientific consulting firm that specializes on driver and operator fatigue. Prior to founding Altertness Solutions, Rosekind was chief of the Fatigue Countermeasures Program at the National Aeronautics & Space Administration.

If the Senate confirms him, Rosekind will replace acting administrator David J. Friedman, who came under fire on Capitol Hill this year as NHTSA was blamed for not reacting to General Motors’ ignition lock defect on its Chevrolet Cobalt, Saturn ION and other compacts. Friedman became NHTSA’s acting administrator after Obama appointee David Strickland left in December 2013 after four years to work for a Washington, D.C., law firm specializing in consumer protection.

On Thursday, the Senate is scheduled to hold a hearing on how federal regulators and automakers have handled recalls on potentially defective airbags supplied to numerous automakers by Takata Corporation of Japan. Flawed Takata airbags are suspected of deploying and hitting passengers with shrapnel. A recall has been limited to Southern states where high levels of humidity reportedly can set off the airbags. Federal regulators now seek to expand the recall nationally, which could affect up to 8 million vehicles from 10 automakers.