Partner, Venable LLP; Former Administrator, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA); and
Counsel for the Self-Driving Coalition for Safer Streets
A partner in Venable’s Regulatory Group, David Strickland focuses his practice on transportation policy, consumer protection, internet privacy, data security, and legislative and government affairs. He has significant federal government and private practice experience.
Most recently, Strickland served as the fourteenth Administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). As the top automotive safety official in the United States, he was responsible for fulfilling the agency's mission to reduce crash-related fatalities and injuries while ensuring the highest standards of safety on the nation's roads. Strickland oversaw a broad range of vehicle safety and policymaking programs, including setting vehicle safety standards, investigating possible safety defects, and tracking safety-related recalls; annually distributing over $600 million in highway safety grants to states and leading the behavioral safety program; and establishing and enforcing the regulations on fuel economy. His major accomplishments at NHTSA include overseeing the development of the first national fuel economy programs for both passenger vehicles and heavy-duty trucks in conjunction with the Environmental Protection Agency, and implementing the vehicle safety and highway safety grant mandates included in the 2012 Highway Reauthorization (MAP-21). He also issued the first ejection mitigation standards for passenger vehicles to help keep passengers from being partially or fully ejected from vehicles during a rollover crash; mandated that lap and shoulder belts be installed on all new motorcoaches; launched the nation’s largest connected vehicle (V2V) safety pilot program; and issued the first automated vehicle policy. In addition, Strickland brought national attention to child passenger safety issues and was a leader in the campaigns to fight impaired and distracted driving.
Prior to his appointment at NHTSA, Strickland spent eight years on the staff of the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation as Democratic Senior Counsel. Through this position he served as lead counsel for the subcommittees overseeing the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), NHTSA, and the Department of Commerce. Strickland provided legal and legislative advice to Members on a range of issues including insurance, antitrust, consumer protection and fraud prevention, internet privacy, tourism, consumer product safety and liability, passenger motor vehicle safety and fuel efficiency, and the U.S. Olympic Committee. His accomplishments during his service in the Senate include serving as the lead Democratic staff drafter and negotiator for the Do-Not-Call Registry in 2003 and the U.S. Safeweb Act in 2006; the highway safety/NHTSA title of the 2005 Highway Reauthorization (SAFETEA-LU); the 2007 passenger vehicle and heavy-duty fuel economy mandates included in EISA; and the 2008 reauthorization of the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSIA). Strickland also served the Committee as its Democratic investigatory counsel and led the panel’s Enron inquiry in 2002; the 2004 Olympics/BALCO steroids investigation; and the Abramoff/Indian Gaming investigation in 2004.