As NHTSA administrator, Strickland, 44, is charged with keeping the nation's thoroughfares operating safely and efficiently. Appointed to the job in 2010, he has overseen the development of the nation's first fuel- efficiency program, helped to establish a rule to prevent passenger ejections during accidents, and worked to raise awareness of the danger of heat stroke for children left in hot cars. Originally from Atlanta, Strickland got his bachelor's degree from Northwestern University and a law degree from Harvard. He's been working in the arena of transportation safety for more than a decade. Before he took the helm at NHTSA, he was senior counsel at the Senate Commerce's Committee's Consumer Protection, Product Safety, and Insurance Subcommittee for eight years; the panel oversees NHTSA, the Federal Trade Commission, and the Consumer Product Safety Commission. Strickland's advocacy of safety reforms and funding increases for the agency's seat-belt and drunk-driving programs earned him the Congressional Staffer of the Year Award from Mothers Against Drunk Driving in 2004. He has a keen interest in other kinds of motorways, too, as an avid fan of Formula One and NASCAR racing. "Jeff Gordon and Lewis Hamilton are my guys," he says.
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