Robin Hutcheson. Credit: FMCSA

Robin Hutcheson is resigning from her post as head of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, a U.S. Department of Transportation source confirmed to FreightWaves.

Her last day at the agency will be Jan. 26. No reason was given as to why she is leaving.

Sue Lawless, FMCSA’s assistant administrator, is in position to head the agency in an acting administrator role after Hutcheson’s departure. Lawless also serves as the agency’s executive director and chief safety officer.

Hutcheson, who was confirmed in September 2022, was FMCSA’s seventh administrator since the agency was established in 2000.

Her predecessors — Jim Mullen, Wylie Deck and Meera Joshi — led the agency in acting roles since Ray Martinez resigned in 2019.

Hutcheson was criticized by lawmakers during a hearing on Capitol Hill last month for taking part in a fundraiser while a proposed regulation that would limit truck speeds was — and still is — pending. The fundraiser was allegedly sponsored by “labor unions and trial attorneys” that are supporters of the controversial rule.

Hutcheson denied that the credibility of the rulemaking was damaged, noting that “we take very seriously the fidelity of the process of rulemaking, and we don’t discuss the contents of the rule even as we’re engaging with our stakeholders.”

U.S. Rep. Troy Nehls, R-Texas, questioned Hutcheson about a potential connection between FMCSA rescinding in September a 68 mph limit on electronic speed governors in trucks — which had initially been included in an agenda summary of the upcoming proposed rule — and a fundraiser she attended the same week.

At a Capitol Hill hearing on Wednesday, FMCSA came under fire again — from the Transportation Intermediaries Association — for paying too much attention to non-safety issues such as private contracts between brokers and trucking companies.

Hutcheson previously served as deputy assistant secretary for safety policy for DOT under the Biden administration.

She led the development of the National Roadway Safety Strategy, which DOT unveiled in January 2022. She also helped secure $13 billion in additional funding for safety programs and initiatives included in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law signed in 2021.  

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Click for more FreightWaves articles by John Gallagher.

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