NHTSA Chief Moving On

Posted on July 20, 2005 by LCT Staff - Also by this author - About the author

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The head of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), Jeffrey Runge, has been named the new chief medical officer at the Department of Homeland Security.

Runge served as NHTSA administrator for four years and focused on trying to reduce the death toll from highway accidents, including a campaign of pressing for financial incentives to states that adopt strict seat-belt laws.

Runge drew ire from some quarters of the auto industry when he commented about the risk and danger of rollover accidents and other safety issues involving large SUVs. Yet he also argued against strict deadlines on strengthening car roofs and other safety measures. Runge plans to step down in late August.

"Jeff has been a bold advocate and tireless proponent of improved vehicle and highway safety the last four years. We are all a little bit safer because of his dedication to the safety cause," Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta said in a statement.

Runge, 49, a former emergency room physician from Charlotte, N.C., has held his current job since August 2001. As chief medical officer at Homeland Security, he would oversee bioterrorism policy and coordinate responses to any biological attacks.

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