The Senate Commerce Committee approved the nomination of Anne Ferro to be chief of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.
Anne Ferro
Anne Ferro

Ferro, who still must be confirmed by the full Senate, would be the sixth FMCSA chief since the agency was created in 2000.

Ferro's current position as president and CEO of the Maryland Motor Truck Association has complicated her bid for the safety post. Opponents have charged that her experience as a trucking industry representative makes her unsuited for the post. Her response at her confirmation hearing was that both at MMTA and in her prior job as chief of the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration she demonstrated a commitment to safety.

"I assure you, and make a personal commitment to this committee, that my passion is highway safety," she said at the hearing. "I am fully committed and fully prepared to implement those measures that achieve the greatest gains we need to achieve in the motor carrier industry."

She also said that she is committed to reviewing the current hours of service rule and making changes if improvements are possible. "This committee has my strongest commitment to advance measures that achieve safety gains and address driver health and wellness issues," she said.

It's a pledge she will evidently have a chance to keep, if she's confirmed. In a settlement with the lobbying group Public Citizen over Public Citizen's suit against the rule, the agency has agreed to reconsider the rule.