President Biden has nominated Ann Carlson to become administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), which oversees vehicle safety regulation in an era of rapid new-technology adoption.

If approved by the Senate, the nomination will cement Carlson’s lead role at the agency, which she has run as acting administrator since September 2022.

One of the key topics that Carlson has been working on at NHTSA has to do with testing and deploying “advanced vehicle technologies,” including self-driving cars.

“She issued a groundbreaking Standing General Order requiring timely reporting of safety data on vehicles equipped with automated driving systems and advanced driver assistance systems,” the White House said in the nomination notice.

Carlson has also overseen an increase in funding of staff and agency programs flowing from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law approved in 2021.

Prior to her role at NHTSA, Carlson served as a faculty member at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) School of Law, as well as a founder of the Emmett Institute on Climate Change and the Environment.

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Jose Rascon
Jose Rascon
Jose Rascon is a MeriTalk Staff Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.