The U.S. Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee has voted to forward the nomination of Anne Ferro to be Administrator of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to the full U.S. Senate. The only dissenting vote came from Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME).

The favorable recommendation of Ferro coincidentally came just as FMCSA’s announcement that it would “completely rewrite” current hours of service (HOS) regulations governing truck drivers. That is a move Ferro supported when she testified before the committee back on Sept. 23.

“Whoever leads this agency must foster frank discussions about the fundamentals in the freight supply chain and motor coach industries that encourage participants to push the limits and put the driving public and other commercial drivers at risk,” Ferro said in her remarks. “The agency must get on with considering a universal electronic on board recorder rule, improving the Hours of Service rule, rolling out tougher standards for entry, implementing effective identification and sanctioning high risk carriers.”

Despite a career spent largely in state and local government – with seven spent as Maryland’s Motor Vehicle Administrator – Ferro’s nomination drew the wrath of advocacy groups such as Citizens for Reliable and Safe Highways (CRASH) and Parents Against Tired Truckers (PATT) thanks to her service over the past six years as president of the Maryland Motor Truck Assn.

“Highway and truck safety organizations, consumer and environmental groups as well as families who have lost children and loved ones in truck crashes are opposing her nomination,” the two groups said in a memo circulated to their members on Oct. 5.

“The individual appointed to lead this agency should not come from the very industry the agency is required to regulate, especially given the trucking industry’s obstructionist positions on commonsense health and safety issues,” the groups noted. “FMCSA needs a leader and the public deserves an Administrator who has a proven record on truck safety without industry conflicts.”