CTOnews.com, December 18 (Xinhua)-- Ann Carlson, acting director of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), announced this week that she will resign as director. Carlson, who has been the agency's chief executive since September 2022, informed employees in an email that she would step down under federal law on term limits for officials.
NHTSA Deputy Director Sophie Schulman (Sophie Shulman) will replace Carlson, who will return to his former position of general counsel by the end of January and then officially leave NHTSA.
Carlson joined NHTSA as general counsel in January 2021 after being a professor of environmental law at the University of California, Los Angeles, according to CTOnews.com. During her tenure at NHTSA, in addition to leading Tesla's Autopilot investigation, Carlson also actively promoted stricter fuel emission standards, some of which will come into effect next year.
The news of Carlson's departure comes as NHTSA issued a "recall" notice this week asking Tesla's Autopilot system to add additional security measures, a decision made by the agency after a two-year investigation of the advanced driving assistance system (ADAS) began in August 2021. After receiving the recall notice, Tesla immediately fixed the problem through wireless update (OTA).
Carlson said after announcing the recall: "We found in the investigation that drivers do not always stay focused when the system is turned on."
In addition to Tesla's Autopilot investigation, Carlson also focused on airbag safety and reducing the total number of traffic deaths during his tenure, and introduced about 50 other safety regulations. After a sharp rise in traffic deaths during the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of traffic deaths in the United States fell by about 4.5 percent to 30435 in the first nine months of 2023, according to a statement on Wednesday.
"while we are optimistic that we will eventually see the record death toll start to decline during the pandemic, this is not something to celebrate," Carlson said. "
It is worth noting that NHTSA has not had a Senate-confirmed director for most of the past six years.
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