WASHINGTON, D.C. — The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) now has a chairman with a school bus endorsement.
Deborah Hersman, nominated for the two-year term as chairman by President Obama last month, was confirmed by the Senate on Friday and sworn in on Tuesday.
Hersman was also nominated and confirmed for a second five-year term as a member of the NTSB. She joined the board in June 2004.
“The NTSB is an outstanding organization that commands respect across the globe for its comprehensive investigations of transportation accidents,” Hersman said. “I am grateful to have this extraordinary opportunity to lead a talented, dedicated staff to make a world-class organization even better.”
Hersman is no stranger to the pupil transportation industry. She has served as the board’s representative at 15 major accidents, including the November 2006 school bus crash in Huntsville, Ala., and the April 2005 collision of a school bus with a trash truck in Arlington, Va.
Interestingly, her credentials include a CDL with a school bus endorsement. She is also a certified child passenger safety technician.
In 2007, Hersman addressed the National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation Services (NASDPTS) in a Webcast on school bus safety. She discussed several pupil transportation accidents that the NTSB has investigated, including the March 2000 bus-train crash near Conasauga, Tenn., in which three children were killed.
Following its investigation of that accident, the NTSB issued 10 recommendations on improving school bus and grade crossing safety.
North Carolina state pupil transportation director Derek Graham, who worked with Hersman on the NASDPTS Webcast, said, "I'm glad to know that the new chair will have lots of experience relevant to our industry: CDL P/S, child passenger safety technician certification, her presence in Huntsville representing NTSB, and the fact that she is the mother of three."