The position of National Highway Traffic Safety Administrator remains open as one of the numerous slots President Donald Trump has yet to fill. However, there’s already some speculation as to who may fill the vacancy.
The Detroit News reports General Motors CEO Mary Barra is speculated to possibly become the next head of the NHTSA. While purely speculations from insiders, it has raised alarms with advocacy groups who fear turning the agency over to an automotive executive could produce poor results.
“He has a penchant of appointing people who have been regulated and allowing them to dismantle agencies,” Rosemary Shahan, president of the Sacramento, Calif.-based Consumers for Auto Reliability and Safety group, said. “You have all these companies who have been under investigations for safety violations recently. I wouldn’t be surprised if he appointed somebody from one of them. It would be consistent with his other appointments.”
On Barra specifically, she said, “[The president] seems to be very friendly with her.”
Barra continues to serve on President Trump’s Strategic and Policy Forum, which houses a handful of business leaders to advise the president from the private sector. The White House and GM both declined to comment on the speculations.
Skeptics say if an auto executive were to be appointed to the position it would cause major conflicts of interest with the government organization and make for major deregulation in automotive safety. In fact, the same government organization continues to keep a watchful eye on GM to ensure safety standards are met.
The facts won’t be known until President Trump officially names his candidate, whenever that may be.