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FMCSA names new deputy administrator

Feb. 27, 2023
Earl Adams Jr., who has served as FMCSA chief counsel since 2021, was elevated to deputy administrator by the DOT. The lawyer has a background in surface transportation, rail, and aviation.

The U.S. Department of Transportation swore in Earl Adams Jr. as the new deputy administrator of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration on Feb. 27. He is the third person to take on the deputy position at FMCSA since President Biden took office.

Adams has served as FMCSA’s chief counsel since July 2021. He takes over the role previously held by Robin Hutcheson, who was officially confirmed as FMCSA’s Administrator on September 22, 2022. The position includes working with the administrator to oversee initiatives across various program offices that support FMCSA’s mission to prevent crashes, injuries, and fatalities involving large trucks and buses, according to a news release.

See also: FMCSA proposes long-awaited changes to CSA, eliminates IRT

“Earl is a mission-driven leader and thinker who embodies the values of our agency and the entire Department of Transportation,” Hutcheson said in a statement. “His vast experience, intellect, and people skills are exactly what the role of deputy administrator calls for. I look forward to continuing to work with Earl on policies, initiatives, data-based strategies to prevent crashes, improve safety outcomes on our roadways, and ultimately achieve our goal of zero fatalities.”

The four previous FMSCA deputy administrators were all nominated to lead the federal government’s trucking industry regulatory agency. Hutcheson, confirmed by the Senate last year, is the first FMCSA administrator since 2019. The previous deputies never moved beyond the Senate committee stage of the nomination process. The deputy position does not require Senate confirmation.

There are more than 500,000 interstate carriers and 4.7 million licensed commercial drivers in the U.S. FMCSA, and its 1,100 employees oversee regulatory changes for drivers and carriers. The freight transportation industry has become a focal point of Biden administration initiatives, including current plans to boost truck driver jobs, strengthen supply chains, and decarbonize the freight industry.

About Earl Adams Jr.

Adams’ background includes legal and executive experience in surface transportation, rail, and aviation, according to the DOT. As FMCSA chief counsel, Adams was responsible for the legal policy on all agency programs and activities, including the development, issuance, interpretation, enforcement, and defense of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations before state and federal courts. He also provided executive oversight for FMCSA’s technology and innovation portfolio, including rulemaking on autonomous vehicles.

See also: FMCSA leader outlines strategy, addresses trucking safety loopholes

Before joining FMCSA, Adams worked in the private sector with several law firms. Most recently, he was a litigation partner with a national law firm, where he also served as the managing partner of the firm’s Washington, DC office.

Adams also served as chief of staff to Maryland’s Lt. Governor Anothy Brown from 2008 to 2012. He also served as former chairman of the board of directors for the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, former vice chairman of the Bowie State University Board of Visitors, and former Economic Club of Washington board member.

He earned his Juris Doctor degree from Boston College Law School, a master of public administration from the Harvard Kennedy School, and a bachelor of arts in psychology from Morehouse College.

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