The No. 2 official at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is leaving government to join Google Inc. in January as the director of safety for self-driving cars.

Ron Medford, NHTSA’s deputy director, has a career of more than 40 years in government and been a key player in finalizing the landmark 2017-2025 corporate average fuel economy requirements to a fleetwide average of 54.5 mpg in 2025.

He’s been involved in all of the key safety issues NHTSA has investigated in recent years, as well as setting new safety rules.

Photo Credit: Google's self-driving car, parked next to a Tesla electric car. Jurvetson / Flickr.com