White House taps safety official to lead NHTSA

April 6, 2018

The White House said Friday President Donald Trump intends to nominate Heidi King, an auto safety official, to head up the NHTSA. King’s nomination comes at a contentious time for the agency that oversees fuel-efficiency and car-safety rules.

Since September, King has served as deputy administrator.

MORE: Automakers fight EPA but tout green cars

King will face a Senate confirmation before she can assume the position and will likely be grilled over the government's plan to rework Obama-era fuel-economy targets and about why the NHTSA has been so slow to put congressional regulations into place.

This week, EPA chief Scott Pruitt said the fuel-economy rules jointly put into place by his agency and the NHTSA are "not appropriate and should be revised.”

Pruitt has signaled his intent to either dismantle those rules or to rework them into less aggressive targets.

King told a Senate panel in March that the NHTSA expects to propose fuel economy standards this month for a five-year period and is working "to make sure that the federal family is aligned in the path forward.”

The NHTSA is also deep into an investigation with the NTSB and Arizona authorities over a fatal crash last month involving a self-driving Uber test car and a pedestrian in suburban Phoenix.

-- by Ruben Porras

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