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Deborah Hersman Stepping Down As Head Of NTSB

National Transportation Safety Board Chairman Deborah Hersman briefing reporters about the July 2013 crash of Asiana Airlines Flight 214 in San Francisco. i i

hide captionNational Transportation Safety Board Chairman Deborah Hersman briefing reporters about the July 2013 crash of Asiana Airlines Flight 214 in San Francisco.

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
National Transportation Safety Board Chairman Deborah Hersman briefing reporters about the July 2013 crash of Asiana Airlines Flight 214 in San Francisco.

National Transportation Safety Board Chairman Deborah Hersman briefing reporters about the July 2013 crash of Asiana Airlines Flight 214 in San Francisco.

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Deborah Hersman, known to many Americans because she's the face of the National Transportation Safety Board at the scene of plane crashes and other transportation-related disasters, is stepping down as head of the NTSB.

Chairman of the NTSB since 2009 and a member of its board since 2004, she is departing in late April to be president and CEO of the National Safety Council, a nonprofit group chartered by Congress and based in Itasca, Ill. The council describes its mission as "partnering with businesses, government agencies, elected officials and the public in areas that can make the most impact – distracted driving, teen driving, workplace safety, prescription drug overdoses and Safe Communities." It was formed in 1913.

NPR's Brian Naylor notes that as head of the NTSB, "Hersman was a familiar face at agency briefings on everything from the crash landing of an Asiana Airlines jet last summer to conferences on distracted driving."

Hersman, 43, writes today that:

"If you are lucky in life, you get a chance to have a dream job. If you are really lucky, you get to have more than one dream job. I look forward to continuing to improve the safety landscape with the Board of Directors and employees of the National Safety Council, another organization dedicated to saving lives and preventing injuries. And yes, I know how lucky I am."

Bloomberg News adds that "as chairman, Hersman broadened the board's mission to transportation risks such as drunk and drugged driving and fatigue across modes, rather than just responding to accidents."

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