Social media making commercial traffic more efficient at international ports

Social media making commercial traffic more efficient at international ports

March 7, 2017


By Tom Herrmann / ADOT Communications

WhatsApp, Doc?

With apologies to Bugs Bunny, that’s not a question but the newest way to make crossing the Arizona-Mexico border more efficient for commercial vehicles.

ADOT’s Enforcement and Compliance Division handles inspections at the ports of entry at the international border. Tim Lane, director of the Enforcement and Compliance Division, has launched a program to educate trucking companies and their drivers about how to keep the trucks safe for Arizona roads and reduce the time they spend sitting idle during inspections.

As we explained recently, the program includes workshops on both sides of the border, events demonstrating what inspectors are looking for and an International Border Qualification program that documents training and streamlines inspections for drivers who have gone through safety inspection training.

And a smartphone app: WhatsApp, one of the most-used instant-messaging apps in the world.

For drivers who have been through International Border Qualification, ADOT is establishing a network that will allow its inspectors, Mexican officials and commercial truckers to communicate through their phones. Drivers approaching the border might ask about wait times so they can make the best use of their time.

Even more beneficial: Drivers with questions about, say, whether their load is properly secured could send a message with a photo of their truck to ADOT inspectors. Those inspectors could look at the photo and reply with either an OK or recommendations for changes. If the driver can fix any issues before reaching the border, that will save time for the driver and for ADOT.

International commerce is an important factor in Arizona’s economy; $30 billion in imports and exports moved through Arizona ports in 2015, supporting 100,000 jobs. The more efficiently ADOT can process trucks at the border, the better it will be for the entire state.

And now, we have an app for that.