President Obama tapped Anne Ferro, the head of Maryland's state trucking association and a former Maryland motor vehicle administrator, as the next Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administrator.
With Ferro as his nominee, Obama is turning to a former state official with experience both as a regulator and as a representative of the industry she has been chosen to regulate.
If her nomination is approved by the Senate, she will be the fifth FMCSA administrator, succeeding John H. Hill, who left office to form a consulting group early this year.
Under Hill, the agency saw a 4.4 percent decrease in large truck fatalities from 2006 to 2007. During that same period the number of fatal crashes involving large trucks dropped 3.3 percent.
But over the years the agency also has come under fire from lawmakers and other critics for the slow pace of its rulemakings and for being too close, in some eyes, to the industry it regulates.
Ferro will inherit several tough problems — FMCSA oversaw the controversial cross-border trucking program with Mexico cancelled earlier this year and is likely to play a leading role in any new program.
She also will head up any effort to amend driver hours of service regulations, rules for electronic onboard recorders and other safety standards.
Ferro served as Maryland's motor vehicle chief between 1997 and 2003, establishing "a strong record in highway safety, regulatory compliance and agency leadership," the White House said in a statement.
Ferro also has driver and vehicle safety experience, the White House said, leading the motor vehicle agency’s efforts to establish a graduated licensing program for new drivers in the state.
Ferro serves on regional advisory committees relating to freight planning, highway safety and transportation funding. In 2008 she was selected as Maryland’s Port Woman of the Year.
Her nomination was praised by the nation's largest trucking lobby.
"Ferro's extensive experience in promoting driver, vehicle and highway safety will serve the nation well," said American Trucking Associations President and CEO Bill Graves. "As administrator of the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration she developed a reputation as a tough, but fair regulator."
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