65aab608831248001ec8f285 Hutcheson Fmcsa Inspection

FMCSA leader to leave post this month

Jan. 19, 2024
Robin Hutcheson is stepping down about 16 months after becoming the first Senate-confirmed head of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. Sue Lawless will take over as interim head.

Robin Hutcheson is resigning as head of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

Hutcheson, who joined the Department of Transportation as a deputy assistant secretary in 2021, will leave the FMSCA on Jan. 26, according to an agency statement. Sue Lawless, FMCSA executive director and chief safety officer, will serve as deputy administrator and lead the agency as an interim head. 

Hutcheson ends her three-year tenure in the federal government after first being appointed by President Joe Biden as deputy assistant secretary for safety policy within the Secretary of Transportation office before becoming FMCSA administrator.

“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 in a statement released by FMCSA on Jan. 19. “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.”

Hutcheson was the first U.S. Senate-confirmed FMCSA leader since Trump Administration appointee Raymond Martinez resigned in 2019. Between his departure and Hutcheson’s confirmation in September 2022, the agency that regulates interstate trucking was overseen by four acting leaders, including Hutcheson. 

"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,” Chris Spear, American Trucking Associations president and CEO, said on Jan. 19. “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.”

As FMCSA administrator, Hutcheson focused on the safety of commercial motor vehicle drivers to improve safety outcomes and strengthen the supply chain, the agency noted in a press release. The agency noted that Hutcheson “took numerous regulatory actions to enhance roadway safety, improve the quality of life for drivers, leverage technology and innovation to improve safety, increase the impact of FMCSA grant dollars in communities across the country, and promote transparency across the industry.”

A former Minneapolis director of public works, as a member of the Biden Administration, Hutcheson led the development of the National Roadway Safety Strategy, developing components of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and helping to secure billions in funding, according to FMCSA.

"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 Todd Spencer, Owner-Operators Independent Drivers Association president. “We wish her well and look forward to working with the new leadership at FMCSA."

About the Author

Josh Fisher | Editor-in-Chief

Editor-in-Chief Josh Fisher has been with FleetOwner since 2017, covering everything from modern fleet management to operational efficiency, artificial intelligence, autonomous trucking, regulations, and emerging transportation technology. He is based in Maryland. 

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