In The News

Hutcheson to step down

Hutchenson Out as FMCSA Administrator

By Brandon Baxter - Staff Writer
Posted Jan 26th 2024 8:00AM

The only constant in life is change. Things change all the time, whether we want to accept it as truth or not, change is inevitable. And once again, there will be a change in leadership within the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).

Hutcheson Stepping Down

FMCSA Administrator Robin Hutcheson is leaving the agency after just two years since assuming leadership. This announcement follows the departure of Deputy Administrator Earl Adams Jr earlier this month. Hutcheson’s leave takes effect today, January 26th. Sue Lawless, FMCSA executive director and chief safety officer is now expected to step in and serve as acting deputy administrator to lead the agency.

Lawless was named assistant administrator and chief safety officer just four months ago, she replaced Jack Van Steenburg who retired last year after 15 years with the FMCSA. Before that, Lawless had been the director of FMCSA’s Motor Carrier, Driver, and Vehicle Standards Division.

Under Hutcheson, FMCSA has been moving forward on several initiatives including its Safety Fitness Determination rulemaking, an overhaul to its Safety Measurement System, a potential speed limiter rule, and a potential rule mandating automatic emergency braking systems.

Reactions From the Industry

Load One CEO and immediate past chairman of Truckload Carriers Association (TCA), John Elliott, recalled meeting with Hutcheson last year. “I met with Robin Hutcheson; she was at the TCA annual conference. We got to sit down and introduce her to the Drivers of the Year Award winners,” said Elliott. “We made some time for her to be able to spend with the drivers and understand their issues. What they love about driving, what their challenges are out there, so she could hear it firsthand from them.”

American Trucking Associations (ATA) President and CEO Chris Spear, via statement, praised Hutcheson for leading 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.” Spear went on to state that, "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."

Leaving a Legacy Behind

Hutcheson ends a three-year stint within the Biden-Harris Administration, serving as the deputy assistant secretary for safety policy within the Office of the Secretary before being named as FMCSA administrator. She was confirmed by the United States Senate in the fall of 2022 after serving as interim administrator after the prior deputy administrator, Meera Joshi, departed. She was sworn in just a year ago.

Some of her milestone achievements include combatting the COVID-19 pandemic within air and ground transportation, leading the development of the National Roadway Safety Strategy, and helping develop key components to the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, helping to secure billions in funding – including for the Safe Streets for All program.