WASHINGTON (Aug. 6, 2001)— Dr. Jeffrey Runge was confirmed Friday, Aug. 3, as the new administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. He becomes the agency's 12th chief in its 35-year history.
The Senate, on a unanimous voice vote, approved President Bush's nominee to head the agency charged with regulating motor vehicle safety. Its current challenges include an ongoing investigation of Firestone tires and a congressional mandate to adopt new rules on tire safety, vehicle rollover tests and the reporting of safety defects.
Dr. Runge, 45, was assistant chairman of the Department of Emergency Medicine at the Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte, N.C. His research, some of it funded by NHTSA, has focused on controlling crash injuries.
At a Senate committee hearing on his nomination Aug. 1, Dr. Runge said all motorists can help fight the “disease” of traffic injury. But he also said, “Their vehicles must be designed and manufactured to be as safe as they can be.”