Director, California Office of Traffic Safety
Barbara Rooney was elected Chair of GHSA in 2022 and re-elected in 2023. She previously served as Vice Chair in 2020 and 2021. She is currently Regional Representative for Region 9 and previously served as Chair of the association’s Federal Relations Committee and Workforce Development Committee.
Rooney was appointed Director of the California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) by Governor Gavin Newsom in August 2019. With over 29 years of experience in state government programs aimed at serving and improving the quality of life for California’s residents, Rooney brings a wealth of experience and energy to highway safety. Prior to this appointment, she served as Deputy Director of Legislation at the California High-Speed Rail Authority (CHSRA), where she represented the CHSRA on all legislative matters before the California Legislature and Congress. Rooney was instrumental in navigating numerous regulatory, environmental, political, funding and other challenges. She also oversaw the CHSRA’s management of $3.5 billion in federal grants awarded to California’s High-Speed Rail Program.
Rooney previously served in multiple positions at the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) including Training Officer, Principal Legislative Analyst, Chief of the Departmental Training Branch, and Deputy Director of Legislation where she was successful in achieving favorable outcomes regarding hundreds of legislative measures aimed at improving traffic safety. Most notably, Rooney was widely recognized as the DMV’s expert in the body of law designed to discourage drivers from operating vehicles under the influence and was instrumental in crafting and securing the passage of numerous other traffic safety measures.
Rooney also previously served as Policy Chief for the California Department of Social Services, Community Care Licensing Division where she managed policy development related to residential care facilities for children, adults, and seniors.
As the OTS Director, Rooney manages nearly $100 million in federal funding annually for traffic safety grants across the state.