NHTSA acting administrator to step down Aug. 31

August 13, 2019

Greg Grisolano


The acting head of the nation’s top highway safety group will step down at the end of the month.

Heidi King, the deputy administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration had been serving as acting administrator of the agency since the 2017 departure of former administrator Mark Rosekind.

She is expected to leave the agency on Aug. 31, according to an email sent to Land Line from a NHTSA spokesperson.

King was twice nominated to serve as administrator but found little traction in the Senate for getting her nomination confirmed. While her nomination was approved by the Commerce committee on two separate occasions, she never received a vote by the full Senate.

Her nomination was also opposed by safety and environmental groups, including the Center for Auto Safety, which raised concerns over King’s role as the “architect” of a rollback of fuel efficiency standards championed by the Trump administration. 

Along with the Environmental Protection Agency, NHTSA last week submitted the second part of a final regulation on fuel efficiency standards to the White House Office of Management and Budget for review. The final rule is expected to be announced within months. It is also expected to bar California’s Air Resources Board from establishing its own, more stringent emissions rules.

The agency confirmed several other personnel moves, including naming James Owens, deputy general counsel for the U.S. Department of Transportation as the new deputy administrator and acting head of NHTSA. As an “acting” administrator, Owens’ appointment does not require Senate confirmation.

DOT General Counsel Steven Bradbury has been named acting deputy secretary of the Department of Transportation in addition to his current duties, effective immediately. Christina Aizcorbe, senior counselor for regulatory reform, has been named deputy general counsel of the Department of Transportation.


Greg Grisolano joined Land Line in 2013. He was formerly a reporter for the Joplin Globe. He brings business writing and photography skills to Land Line, and has a passion for finding and telling stories about the people who make up the trucking industry.