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The Office of Public Health Practice & Training

October 2013

The High Cost of Impaired Driving

Deborah HersmanAs a leading transportation safety advocate, Deborah A.P. Hersman heads the National Transportation Safety Board in its work to promote safety across all transportation modes by conducting objective accident investigations and issuing safety recommendations.

Appointed by President Obama and unanimously approved by the U.S. Senate in 2009 and 2011, Hersman is serving her second term as chair. A National Transportation Safety Board member since her initial appointment by President Bush in 2004, she is also serving a second five-year term as a Board member.

Since 2004, Hersman has been the NTSB spokesperson on the scene of more than 20 major transportation accidents, chaired scores of hearings and forums, and testified regularly before the U.S. Congress.  During her tenure as chair, she has advocated for a more transparent and accountable organization, including making more information about NTSB investigations available to the public on the agency’s website, holding more public meetings to discuss safety issues facing the transportation industry, and embracing social media to communicate with stakeholders and citizens.

Hersman has focused on raising public awareness of the dangers of distracted and substance-impaired driving, improving child passenger safety, and helping accident victims and their families.

Previously, Hersman was a senior advisor to the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation from 1999-2004, and served as staff director and senior legislative aide to West Virginia Congressman Bob Wise from 1992-1999. Her efforts contributed to the passage of landmark bills, including the Motor Carrier Safety Improvement Act of 1999, Pipeline Safety Improvement Act of 2002, Transportation Equity Act of the 21st Century, and Amtrak Reform and Accountability Act.

Hersman received BA degrees in Political Science and International Studies from Virginia Tech and a Master of Science in Conflict Analysis and Resolution from George Mason University.  She holds a commercial driver’s license with passenger, school bus and air brake endorsements as well as a motorcycle endorsement.


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Media contact for Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health: Natalie Wood-Wright at 410-614-6029 or