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FMCSA’s Robin Hutcheson talks agency opportunities

Robin Hutcheson
Photo: National Association of City Transportation Officials

Washington — As she approaches her second year as administrator of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, Robin Hutcheson sees an opportunity to better understand the “root cause” of crashes.

“We’ve not seen the progress we would like in roadway safety and commercial motor vehicle safety,” Hutcheson said during a July 25 agency update webinar hosted by the National Safety Council Divisions, “and I suspect it’s because we’ve not focused enough on why drivers become unsafe in the first place.”

She added that learning more about issues related to drivers and work conditions (crashes, fatigue, truck parking and detention time, for example), and forming related interventions, can bolster roadway safety.

Although resources from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law are helping, Hutcheson said, she’s also eager to “harness technology for the purpose of safety.”

One objective? Using data to target problems at the lowest level or smallest geographic area possible.

“Having the best data we can so problems in Nebraska that might not look like problems in New York have their own tailored approaches to safety and reducing crashes,” Hutcheson said. “It is different.”

She stressed the importance of stakeholder feedback when the agency solicits comment during the rulemaking process.

“Know how important it is that you do provide us with your comment. Big encouragement to give us feedback on what you’re seeing. We read every single thing we get back.”

Hutcheson became FMCSA’s first Senate-confirmed leader in nearly three years when lawmakers approved her nomination in September. She had served as the agency’s acting administrator since January 2022.

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