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Center for Auto Safety head Jason Levine departs for new job

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After four and a half years with the Center for Auto Safety, Jason Levine has resigned as executive director.

The resignation was effective Dec. 31, as Levine, 49, moved on to become acting director of the Office of Communications at the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission — a job he started on Tuesday.

Before joining the Center for Auto Safety, Levine had worked for the Consumer Product Safety Commission in 2009-2015, most recently as director, office of legislative and intergovernmental affairs.

“He’s the type that is always there to serve when called upon by his nation,” said Michael Brooks, the center’s COO and acting executive director.

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The center is evaluating its options for a new executive director. Brooks was the acting director after Clarence Ditlow died in 2016. Levine was hired in 2017.

In Levine’s time with the center, it has become “a much more organized, dedicated force,” Brooks said.

Levine said he is most proud of helping to get the seat-back standard update included in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act that was signed into law in November. This would update a standard created more than 50 years ago and leaves the vehicle’s front seats susceptible to collapse in rear-end crashes.

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He was also involved in major recalls, such as 2017-18 Chrysler Pacifica minivans for stalling and 7.4 million Hyundai and Kia vehicles for a non-crash fire risk.

Levine was particularly skilled at working with the media and making sure that automotive safety was at the top of many politicians’ agendas.

“We came out of his tenure in a better place than when we started out,” Brooks said. “I miss him every day.”

One thing that Levine hopes to see the Center for Auto Safety tackle is used vehicles being sold with unrepaired recalls, he said.

The Center for Auto Safety was founded as a nonprofit entity in 1970 by Consumers Union and Ralph Nader with the goal of keeping drivers protected.

Over the last five decades, it has played a role in enacting lemon laws in every state, strengthening safety and highway standards, and recalling various unsafe vehicles.

“The opportunity to be a small part of that organization’s 52-year history was really special and something that I was honored to be a part of,” Levine said. “I have no doubt they’ll continue to make a real difference for consumers.”

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