The National Transportation Safety Board announced that Bella Dinh-Zarr is now acting chairman, replacing Christopher Hart as the interim leader of the nation's independent crash investigation agency.
Dinh-Zarr was elevated to her new post from that of vice chairman while NTSB awaits a new appointed, full-time chairman by President Trump and resulting Senate Confirmation. NTSB added that Hart will remain on as an NTSB Board member for the conclusion of his current five-year term, which ends on Dec. 31.
Dinh-Zarr holds a Ph.D. and a master's degree in public health from the University of Texas. She joined the NTSB Board on March 23, 2015, shortly after Hart became chairman. Dinh-Zarr was appointed vice chairman a week later.
She is a former director of the U.S. Office of the FIA Foundation, an international philanthropic organization that promotes road safety, injury reduction and clean air. Its slogan is "Safe, Clean, Fair and Green" mobility. Dinh-Zarr is also the former North American director of Make Roads Safe: The Campaign for Global Road Safety, and is the formern national director of traffic safety policy for AAA. She also served as a scientist at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and held positions the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and the Texas Transportation Institute.
Hart became a member of the NTSB Board in August 2009, and was subsequently designated vice chairman by President Obama. He was nominated for a second term as board member in August 2013 and has overseen several high-profile investigations into school bus crashes as well as NTSB's annual Most Wanted List of Safety Improvements, which have championed enhanced school bus occupant protection via lap-shoulder seat belts to fully complement compartmentalization as well as crash mitigation and avoidance technologies for school buses.
Nominated as chairman in January 2015 by President Obama, Hart served as NTSB acting chairman the year prior after Deborah Hersman concluded her service and joined the National Safety Council.
Hart has also been a frequent speaker at the annual meeting of the National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation Services as well as the National Association for Pupil Transportation.