WASHINGTONDavid Strickland, the administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), is leaving the agency.
Mr. Strickland, 45, has been the nation's top auto safety regulator since early 2010. He was a major player in the federal investigation into cases of unintended acceleration in Toyota vehicles and in negotiating new fuel economy standards with the auto industry.
Whoever succeeds Mr. Strickland will oversee a number of high-profile investigationsincluding an inquiry into recent battery fires in the electric vehicle Tesla Model S.
But no one has yet been nominated to fill the position. His current second-in-command is David Friedman, a fuel economy expert who worked at the advocacy group Union of Concerned Scientists before joining NHTSA.
During his time at NHTSA, Mr. Strickland has given the agency a greater focus on advanced safety features that can prevent vehicle crashes. This year, NHTSA released the first guidelines for autonomous vehicles, as auto makers, suppliers and technology firms race to bring that technology to market.
Other technologies Mr. Strickland has supported include automatic braking and wireless vehicle-to-vehicle communications.
He had pledged to take action on both of them by year-end 2013, with a government mandate as one possible option.
This report appeared in Automotive News, a Detroit-based sister publication of Tire Business.