FMCSA's Hutcheson resigning from Administrator post

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FMCSA Administrator Robin Hutcheson
FMCSA Administrator Robin Hutcheson is resigning from her post, effective Jan. 26, after having led the agency as both acting administrator and later administrator since January 2022.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration announced Friday morning that Robin Hutcheson, the agency’s administrator since September 2022, plans to resign, effective Jan. 26.

Sue Lawless, FMCSA Executive Director and Chief Safety Officer, will serve as Acting Deputy Administrator and lead the agency.

Hutcheson was the Biden Administration’s pick to lead FMCSA after the administration’s first acting administrator, Meera Joshi, left the position. She was named FMCSA’s Deputy Administrator in January 2022 and immediately became Acting Administrator on the heels of Joshi's resignation.

“It has been the most profound honor to serve in the Biden-Harris Administration, and I am grateful to President Biden for appointing me to these roles,” Hutcheson said. “I thank Secretary Buttigieg for his leadership and confidence and recognize the dedicated team of professionals at the Department of Transportation who work hand in hand with industry partners to serve the American people and keep our country moving forward.”

Before being named FMCSA’s Deputy Administrator, Hutcheson served as the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Safety Policy for the U.S. Department of Transportation in the Biden-Harris Administration, leading safety policy for the department and coordinating other efforts like COVID-19 response and recovery.

Prior to Hutcheson, FMCSA hadn't had a full-time administrator since Ray Martinez, who stepped down from the post in October 2019. The job was held in the interim by Jim Mullen, Wiley Deck, Joshi and then Hutcheson, each as acting administrator. 

As Administrator, Hutcheson focused on the safety of truck and bus drivers to improve safety outcomes and strengthen the supply chain, FMCSA said. During her tenure, at the direction of Congress FMCSA established the Women of Trucking Advisory Board, the Truck Leasing Task Force and more.

Notably, too, during her tenure the agency began to move in response to industry petitions around boosted enforcement of brokered-freight transparency regulations and finalized rules intended in part to tighten screws on fraud in the brokered-freight markets, allowing for more speedy authority suspensions with claims.  

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The agency also began working toward changes to its Safety Measurement System and its system for determining a motor carrier’s safety fitness, among other things, including a restart of its pursuit of a mandate for use of speed limiters and automatic emergency braking systems on heavy-duty trucks.

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association thanked Hutcheson for her time as FMCSA administrator.

"We thank Administrator Hutcheson for her service to our nation and her efforts to keep America's roadways safe for truckers and all road users," said OOIDA President Todd Spencer. "We wish her well and look forward to working with the new leadership at FMCSA."

American Trucking Associations President and CEO Chris Spear was also complimentary of Hutcheson's tenure as FMCSA's boss.

"Administrator Hutcheson led FMCSA through a critical time as the pandemic, natural disasters, workforce shortages and supply chain disruptions challenged the freight economy in ways never seen before," Spear said. "America’s trucking industry is the heartbeat of this nation, and we depend on partners in government like Administrator Hutcheson who value data and stakeholder input to meet real-world needs and ensure the safe movement of freight across our nation’s highways. We applaud her communication, transparency and commitment to ATA and our members, and we wish her well in her future endeavors.”

CVSA Executive Director Collin Mooney via statement provided to Overdrive sister publication CCJ extended his agency's appreciation to the outgoing-administrator "for her dedicated public service of promoting and advancing commercial motor vehicle safety on our roadways. We wish her all the best in her future endeavors and look forward to working with the new incoming leadership at FMCSA."

[Related: FMCSA, DOT leaders 'without actual expertise' have 'failed trucking': GOP presidential candidate]

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