The Detroit Free Press published an interesting article this week regarding regarding the pending appointment of a chief executive National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration (“NHTSA”). The NHTSA is the agency charged with regulating the safety of the nation’s automobiles. According to the article, consumer advocates are fearing the worst: that Trump will appoint an automobile company executive.
Rosemary Shahan, president of the Sacramento, Calif.-based Consumers for Auto Reliability and Safety group, said she would not be surprised if Trump reaches out to an auto executive to fill the position of National Highway Traffic Safety administrator, vacant since Trump took office in January.
“He has a penchant of appointing people who have been regulated and allowing them to dismantle agencies,” Shahan continued. “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.”
Trump’s track record to date is not encouraging. He appointed an oil executing to run the EPA, which is the agency charged with protecting our environment. He appointed another oil executive as his Secretary of State.
We can’t jump to conclusions yet as no one has been appointed. But we should be wary of an appointment of an auto executive as there would be, in my opinion, an obvious conflict of interest if, say, a CEO of a major auto maker is appointment. Whose interest would they put first? The bottom line of the auto companies? Or, the safety of the consumer? Time will tell.