Aug 12, 2019

Top U.S. auto safety official Heidi King to step down

Heidi King, the acting administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, is set to step down on August 31, Automotive News reports.

Why it matters: King was nominated a year ago to become permanent administrator, but never confirmed by Congress. Sources tell Axios that her management style alienated some at the agency, which has been coping with management churn and been accused by consumer advocates of being too cozy with the auto industry.

  • King had been highly involved in the administration's efforts to relax light-vehicle fuel-efficiency requirements from the Obama administration's standards.

Between the lines: The Trump administration is operating in a unique moment when it comes to auto safety, particularly as it relates to regulating self-driving cars. While the administration had been leaving it to automakers to assess the safety of their automated driving systems, a series of Tesla crashes has called the practice into question. Recent reports have suggested the administration getting more aggressive with their efforts to regulate the industry.

What's next: King will be replaced by Deputy General Counsel James Owens.

Go deeper: Self-driving cars could be more fuel-efficient than human drivers

Go deeper

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 12 p.m. ET: 5,449,135 — Total deaths: 345,721 — Total recoveries — 2,188,200Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 10 a.m. ET: 1,647,741 — Total deaths: 97,811 — Total recoveries: 366,736 — Total tested: 14,163,915Map.
  3. 2020: Trump threatens to move Republican convention from North Carolina.
  4. World: White House announces travel restrictions on Brazil Over 100 cases in Germany tied to single day of church services — Top Boris Johnson aide defends himself after allegations he broke U.K. lockdown
  5. Public health: Officials are urging Americans to wear masks over Memorial Day.
  6. Economy: White House economic adviser Kevin Hassett says it's possible the unemployment rate could still be in double digits by November's election.
  7. What should I do? Hydroxychloroquine questions answeredTraveling, asthma, dishes, disinfectants and being contagiousMasks, lending books and self-isolatingExercise, laundry, what counts as soap — Pets, moving and personal healthAnswers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingHow to minimize your risk.
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it, the right mask to wear.

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Updated 35 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Dominic Cummings: "I respectfully disagree" that I broke U.K. lockdown rules

Photo: Peter Summers/Getty Images

Dominic Cummings, the top aide to British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, defended himself at a press conference Monday against allegations that he broke the U.K.'s coronavirus lockdown rules by traveling to his parents' home last month while exhibiting symptoms.

What he said: "I respectfully disagree. The legal rules do not necessarily cover all circumstances, especially the ones I found myself in," Cummings told the assembled press.

Netanyahu says July 1 deadline for West Bank annexation won't change

Photo: Artur Widak/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Monday at a Likud Party faction meeting at the Knesset, Israel's parliament, that his July 1 deadline for starting the process of annexation in the West Bank will not change, according to people in attendance.

Why it matters: The White House and the State Department have stressed over the last few weeks that the deadline set by Netanyahu is "not sacred" to the Trump administration — and that any discussion of annexation needs to be in the context of renewed Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.