AQRC Researcher, Steve Cliff, nominated to be NHTSA by Joe Biden
Steven Cliff, Nominee for the Administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
The Air Quality Research Center couldn't be happier to support Steve Cliff in his journey to be the newest administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). As a former researcher within the center, he has been an advocate for reducing emissions through decreased vehicular traffic and increased active transportation. After working at the AQRC, he continued on to hold positions at the California Air Resources Administration and the California Department of Transportation.
The magazine Cycling California writes:
Interestingly, just a few years ago, Steven Cliff was a leading critic of the NHTSA’s emissions policies. Indeed, the NHTSA actively fought against CARB’s unique pollution standards. Mr. Cliff has also publicly criticized former President Trump’s policies on climate change and pollution.
Throughout his tenure at CARB, Steven Cliff has negotiated with big auto companies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in California. Dr. Cliff has also worked tirelessly to promote electric vehicles and other zero-carbon transit alternatives.1
The White House notes:
Steven Cliff has served as Deputy Administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration since February 2021. In this role, he oversees the nation’s vehicle safety agency that sets vehicle safety standards, identifies safety defects and manages recalls, and educates Americans to help them drive, ride, and walk safely. He also oversees NHTSA’s work in establishing fuel economy regulations and helping facilitate the testing and deployment of advanced vehicle technologies.2
Cliff joined NHTSA shortly after Biden's inauguration. Before joining the agency, he was deputy executive officer at the California Air Resources Board, which regulates pollution in the state. He has held a number of positions with the agency and the California Department of Transportation, where he was assistant director for sustainability.
Before working for the state, Cliff taught at UC Davis for nearly two decades, starting in 2001. He came onto staff as a research professor, and later he affiliated with the college's Air Quality Research Center.
While he was deputy NHTSA administrator, the agency has grown more aggressive in regulating the auto industry. It has required that automakers and tech companies report crashes involving autonomous or partially automated driving systems. It also has forced electric vehicle sales leader Tesla Inc. to recall cars to fix touch screens that go blank, and it opened an investigation into Tesla's Autopilot partially automated driver-assist system due to crashes into parked emergency vehicles.3
We are incredibly excited to see how Steve will continue his legacy of promoting improved air quality and safety!