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NHTSA Deputy Administrator David Friedman

David J. Friedman


David J. Friedman was sworn in as the Deputy Administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) on May 15, 2013. He served as Acting Administrator of NHTSA from January 18, 2014, to August 15, 2014.

In his role as Deputy Administrator, Mr. Friedman continues to lead the agency in its mission to save lives, prevent injuries and reduce economic costs due to road traffic crashes, through education, research, safety standards, and enforcement activity

Before becoming NHTSA’s deputy administrator, Mr. Friedman worked for 12 years at the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) as a senior engineer, research director, and finally as the deputy director of the clean vehicles program co-managing an interdisciplinary team of scientists, engineers, advocates, and outreach specialists. Mr. Friedman engaged in research and policy issues regarding conventional fuel economy technology, mass-size-safety interactions, and the energy and environmental impacts of hybrid, battery, and fuel cell electric vehicles. In 2007, his team’s efforts on fuel economy helped led to the first legislative increase in NHTSA’s Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards since their creation in 1975. In recognition of that and other work, Mr. Friedman was named an Automotive News All-Star and one of Washingtonian Magazine’s 30 People Changing the Environment in Washington in 2008.

From 2006 to 2011, Mr. Friedman served on several National Academies committees covering the topics of fuel economy, low-rolling-resistance tires, and both fuel cell and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles. He also served on the Energy Secretary’s Hydrogen Technical Advisory Committee.

Prior to joining UCS in 2001, Mr. Friedman worked for the University of California, Davis, in the Fuel Cell Vehicle Modeling Program and also volunteered on the UC Davis FutureCar team that built a plug-in hybrid electric family car that doubled its fuel economy.

A Rhode Island native, Mr. Friedman earned his B.S. degree in mechanical engineering from Worcester Polytechnic Institute and is a Ph.D. candidate (ABD) at the University of California, Davis, with a focus on modeling and optimizing automotive fuel cell vehicle systems and their fuel efficiency.

Mr. Friedman, his wife Betsy, and their son live in Arlington, Virginia.