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U.S. Senate Commerce Committee Holds Confirmation Hearing for NHTSA Administrator

The U.S. Senate Commerce Committee held a hearing today on the nomination of Dr. Steven Scott Cliff, who has been tapped to be the administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Dr. Cliff most recently served as the deputy executive officer of the California Air Resources Board (CARB) and is currently serving as the deputy administrator at NHTSA.

During the hearing, Dr. Cliff answered a variety of questions on vehicle safety, autonomous vehicles, and his vision of the future of the agency. Much of the hearing was focused on the increase in traffic safety deaths during the pandemic, and the possibility of autonomous vehicle technology improving safety on the roads. Dr. Cliff committed to regulating AV technology in a safe and expeditious fashion in order to pave the way for deployment.

Dr. Cliff also spoke about the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards. Under the Biden administration, the CAFE standards have been raised from 40 mpg to 48 mpg by 2026. This new standard will likely result in a higher percentage of electric vehicles being sold, as car manufacturers begin to comply with the new standard.

The nomination of Steven Cliff to be the new administrator of NHTSA will now be voted on by the full committee and move to a vote before the entire U.S. Senate.

Watch a recording of the U.S. Senate Commerce Committee nomination hearing here, and read Dr. Cliff's full testimony here.