Scott Darling, chief counsel for the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, has been nominated by President Obama to be the next agency administrator.
In announcing the nomination, Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx cited Darling’s performance as FMCSA’s top lawyer as well as his stint as the agency’s acting administrator following the departure of Anne Ferro a year ago. Darling retained the leadership role, without the formal title, when the statutory limit on his service as acting administrator expired in March.
“Scott has already demonstrated his ability to lead the Agency. He is committed to making our roads safer for motorists, passengers, and professional truck and bus drivers, and is constantly working with all sides to find solutions to challenges facing the industry and the motoring public,” Foxx said. “As Administrator, FMCSA will continue to benefit from his years of leadership and experience working in the transportation sector. I look forward to our continued work together.”
The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Assn. (OOIDA) expressed support for Darling's nomination.
“We have found him to be open and receptive to input from the Association, and he appears to appreciate the role of professional truckers," said Jim Johnston, president and CEO of OOIDA.
OOIDA noted that the association has been able to work with Darling on a number of areas during the past year, and is particularly pleased that he made significant progress moving forward with new driver training, an issue that had been "stagnant" for several years.
“We are hoping the FMCSA will be willing to tackle some important issues like detention time, driver pay and others, while understanding why it’s important to avoid unnecessary regulations that will harm small businesses,” said Johnston. “We look forward to further discussions on the importance of trucks and truckers, especially small-business truckers, to the nation’s economy.”
An Obama political appointee, Darling joined the agency as chief council in 2012 and has served as the agency’s top legal officer and managed FMCSA’s staff of attorneys.
And this isn’t the first time FMCSA has gone for an extended period without an administrator: Nearly 10 months elapsed between the departure of John Hill in Jan. 2009 and Ferro’s swearing in, according to an FMCSA calendar.
The nomination must be confirmed by the U.S. Senate.