Outgoing NHTSA chief Strickland to join D.C. law firm

David Strickland is expected to attend the Detroit auto show next week.
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David Strickland, the outgoing administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, will join Venable LLP, a Washington corporate law firm, as a partner by the end of January, the firm said today.

Strickland, 45, became the nation's top auto safety regulator in early 2010. He announced his departure from NHTSA last month. He was a major player in the federal investigation into cases of alleged unintended acceleration in Toyota vehicles and in negotiating new fuel economy standards with the auto industry.

While at NHTSA, Strickland gave the agency a greater focus on advanced safety features that can prevent vehicle crashes. This year, NHTSA released the first guidelines for autonomous vehicles, as automakers, suppliers and technology companies race to bring that technology to market.

Before becoming NHTSA administrator, Strickland spent eight years as senior counsel on the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation.

No one has been nominated to succeed him at NHTSA. David Friedman, a fuel economy expert who worked at the advocacy group Union of Concerned Scientists before joining NHTSA earlier in 2013, was named acting administrator.

Venable focuses on corporate and business law and government affairs.

Strickland is expected to attend the Detroit auto show next week.

Gabe Nelson contributed to this report.

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