NTSB chair Hersman steps down
WASHINGTON — Deborah Hersman, who headed the National Transportation Safety Board during high-profile investigations into plane crashes and other transit mishaps, said on Tuesday she will leave the agency in April.
Hersman's surprise departure comes as the NTSB is gearing up help with the investigation into the missing Malaysian Airlines flight MH370, which disappeared on Saturday about an hour after it took off from Kuala Lumpur with 239 passengers and crew.
The agency dispatched a team of investigators to Malaysia this week, and is likely to be among the investigators analyzing the aircraft's black box, if the flight recorder is located.
The NTSB was the lead agency in two of last year's biggest aviation incidents, investigating the battery fire problems that grounded Boeing Co.'s 787 Dreamliner aircraft for several weeks in early 2013, and the crash of an Asiana Airlines jet at San Francisco International Airport in July.
Hersman will become president and CEO of the National Safety Council, a safety advocacy group based in Itasca, Ill., the group said in a statement.
Hersman was named a board member of the NTSB in 2004 by President George W. Bush and was appointed chairwoman in 2009 by President Obama.
“I always trusted that Debbie would put the full weight of the NTSB behind any investigation, and she would be tireless in working to uncover the facts,” said Sen. Jay Rockefeller, a Democrat from West Virginia, where Hersman was raised.
Hersman made distracted driving one of her signature issues.
The NTSB raised the ire of automakers in 2011 by calling for a ban on the non-emergency use of portable electronic devices for all drivers. “Distraction, whether it's hands-free or handheld, whether it's texting or talking, is deadly,” Hersman wrote at the time.
Christopher Hart, NTSB's vice chairman, will take over as acting chairman when Hersman leaves on April 25.
Hart, a licensed pilot, has a long career in transportation safety that included a stint as deputy director for air traffic safety oversight at the Federal Aviation Administration.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- House GOP sues Obama administration over federal health care law
- Tough Texas gets prison results by going softer on crime
- Immigrants warned of increase in scams
- Some in Congress turn down retirement pension, but many cash in
- Former nuke commander linked to fake poker chips
- Bighorn sheep escapes Los Angeles Zoo
- With no indictment, chaos fills Ferguson streets
- Oregon police dog fired from job
- Ferguson angles to avoid fate of riot-torn cities
- 3-mile buffer suggested for grouse breeding, oil and gas drilling
- U.S. to arm Iraq’s Sunni tribesmen