Senators ask Obama to name highway safety chief

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

WASHINGTON (AP) — Two senators are calling on the White House to hire a permanent chief of the agency that keeps the nation's roadways safe.

Democrat Claire McCaskill of Missouri and Republican Dean Heller of Nevada made the request Tuesday at the start of a hearing on how the agency handles safety issues.

David Friedman has served as acting administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration since December. McCaskill says he's doing two jobs as the agency tries to modernize to keep pace with a fast-moving industry. She says there are serious deficiencies in how automakers and safety regulators make sure roads are safe.

Heller says it would be difficult for an interim chief to make the changes necessary to improve the agency in the wake of the GM ignition switch recalls.