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November 8, 2017 11:00 AM, EST
Senators Advance Nominee for Top Job at FMCSA
FMCSA nominee Ray Martinez Nominee to lead FMCSA, Ray Martinez. (Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg News)

A Senate panel easily advanced the nomination of Ray Martinez on Nov. 8 to lead the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

The members of the Commerce Committee gave voice vote approval for the nominee to the full Senate. The chamber is likely to consider the Martinez nomination as early as this month.

Senators did not debate Martinez’s qualifications prior to the vote, and the hearing came about a week after the nominee defended his background before the panel.

As President Donald Trump’s choice to become the country’s top trucking regulator, Martinez affirmed he would follow through with a Dec. 18 mandate on electronic logging devices for truckers. The upcoming mandate is backed primarily by larger carriers and distributors, while a significant number of smaller firms and independent drivers continue to oppose it.

During that Oct. 31 hearing, Martinez also pledged to conduct a review of the ongoing reforms to the Compliance, Safety, Accountability safety performance scoring program for carriers. The congressional transportation leaders will review proposed changes to the program prior to their adoption.

Martinez also emphasized data analytics would be an effective tool for enhancing safety along freight corridors.

“We have to be a data-driven organization,” he said. “We rely on 13,000 partners in the state level who are also stretched. We have to be focused in our efforts and we need data to do that, appropriate data to do that.”

If confirmed, Martinez will succeed former deputy administrator Daphne Jefferson, who retired on Nov. 3 after serving as acting administrator. Martinez is the chief administrator of the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission.