The U.S. Senate confirmed Robin Hutcheson as administrator of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration by a voice vote on Sept. 22. She had been serving as deputy and acting administrator of the FMCSA since January, when she replaced the departing deputy/acting administrator, Meera Joshi.
Hutcheson was nominated by President Biden in April. The Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation held confirmation hearings in June and moved the nomination to the Senate. During those hearings, Hutcheson fielded a number of questions about what the FMCSA is doing about the truck driver shortage and related supply-chain challenges. She also was asked about some long-overdue regulatory changes that were called for in the 2015 FAST Act, including hair-testing for drugs and changes to the Compliance, Safety, Accountability program the agency uses to prioritize unsafe carriers for interventions.
Hutcheson is the seventh person to officially hold the position of FMCSA administrator, although there have been a number of acting administrators in recent years. Hutcheson was the fourth acting chief of FMCSA since Ray Martinez stepped down nearly three years ago, and one of several to have left the agency unexpectedly since it was formed more than 20 years ago. The former deputy administrator, Meera Joshi, left the role to serve as a deputy mayor in New York City.
Hutcheson was previously deputy assistant secretary for safety policy for the Department of Transportation, where she led the development of the National Roadway Safety Strategy and was instrumental in the development of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, White House officials said in a press release. Prior to that, she was the director of public works for the City of Minneapolis.
American Trucking Associations President and CEO Chris Spear applauded the confirmation. “In her time as Acting Administrator, Robin has been a true partner with our industry, working to confront a number of issues facing trucking.
“Whether it is addressing safety concerns, ongoing supply chain issues or workforce development, she has been open to engaging with our industry and we look forward to continuing our ongoing, candid dialogue about these challenges and to engaging with her and her agency to implement solutions that uphold safety and improve efficiency in trucking and across the supply chain.”
Truckload Carriers Association President Jim Ward said in a statement, "I am pleased to see this confirmation come to fruition. In the short time that she has been there, the administrator has demonstrated a passion for safety improvement and a willingness to engage with the industry. We are looking forward to working with her on truckload-related safety measures in the future.”