The U.S. Tire Manufacturers Association on Sept. 20 wrote President Trump, respectfully requesting that he expedite the selection of an administrator for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
NHTSA plays an invaluable role in motor vehicle safety, wrote Anne Forristall Luke, USTMA president and CEO. To ensure smart, efficient regulations that protect motorists without unduly harming the marketplace, having a NHTSA administrator in place is imperative, she said.
If the USTMA and its members are starting to feel some desperation on this issue, they're not alone. According to The Atlantic, only 51 of more than 1,100 federal officials requiring Senate confirmation had been confirmed. This compared with more than 200 confirmations by that date in each of the last four administrations.
There has been progress since then, as the following week the White House announced the nomination of Raymond Martinez to be administrator of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. That's a start, but not enough.
Since Jan. 20, there has been no NHTSA administrator. The USTMA has more reason that most to be concerned about this. Since March 2010, it has been waiting—with the rest of the tire industry—for the labeling and consumer information portions of the tire fuel efficiency standard. Obviously, most of this can be laid at the door of the previous administration, but very little progress can be made without a NHTSA administrator in office.
In her letter to Trump, Luke made the point that the USTMA supports his order for a review of existing regulations to eliminate rules that are outdated, ineffective or duplicative. Again, however, it is hard to see how the Trump administration can deliver on this promise without administrators at every relevant agency who can instigate and direct regulatory reviews.
In light of this situation, the USTMA's "Manufacturing Ambassadors" program looks like an especially smart idea.
On Sept. 15, nine hourly and middle management workers from USTMA member companies went to Capitol Hill, visiting the offices of legislators who represent states and districts which have tire manufacturing facilities.
The USTMA is doing what many associations, including those representing tire dealers and independent auto repairers, have found it wise to do: showing congressional staffers how policies that affect an industry also affect American lives.
In selecting "Manufacturing Ambassadors," tire makers sought workers who were productive, ethical, organized, capable of leadership, concerned about important issues and a good example to their peers. Sounds like a good example for all to follow, especially those in Washington.