The U.S. Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee on Oct. 27 approved the nomination of Anne Ferro to be administrator of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration of the U.S. Department of Transportation. The committee also approved the nomination of Cynthia Quarterman to be administrator of DOT’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration. The nominations now move to the full Senate for approval.
Promptly after President Obama announced Ferro as his choice for FMCSA administrator this spring, several organizations – the Teamsters Union, the Truck Safety Coalition, Public Citizen and Parents Against Tired Truckers – wrote the president opposing her due to her current ties to trucking and her past public support for current hours-of-service regulations. A <I>New York Times</I> editorial called Ferro’s selection a “peculiar choice” for the job due to her current position as head of the Maryland Motor Truck Association and a letter to <I>The Baltimore Sun</I> that she co-authored in defense of the Bush administration’s hours rules.
Aside from heading MMTA, Ferro serves on regional advisory committees on freight planning, highway safety and transportation funding. And she was Maryland’s Motor Vehicle Administrator from 1997 to 2003, where she is credited with leading the effort to establish a graduated licensing program for new state drivers.
During Ferro’s Sept. 23 confirmation hearing, Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.), who heads the Commerce Committee’s surface transportation panel, told Ferro that FMCSA is “an agency in dire need of reform” and that he was concerned about her “ability to take the bold action we need to keep Americans safe.” Ferro described herself as a safety advocate, pointing to her record in Maryland.
Affected tractors are equipped with an automated Eaton UltraShift Plus or Eaton Advantage Transmission with right hand stalk shifter. In the affected trucks, the display on the instrument panel can indicate “N” when the shifter is set into “D” or “R,” causing the truck not to move.