By Tom Herrmann / ADOT Communications
A year ago, the International Border Inspection Qualification program
was just an idea that sounded like it might be a good one. Its goals: Reducing inspection times, making the inspection process more efficient and attracting more international truckers to use ports in Arizona rather than California or Texas.
This week, when Arizona Department of Transportation innovators meet with Mexican transportation officials in Rocky Point, Mexico, they will share good news about a program that is benefiting both sides of the border.
In 2016, ADOT’s Border Liaison Unit
learned that international trucking companies in Mexico considered Arizona’s inspection process too slow and inconsistent at ADOT's commercial ports of entry in Nogales, Douglas and San Luis.
First, the unit trained inspectors to ensure a consistent inspection process at ADOT's international commercial ports of entry. Then they began training Mexican drivers and trucking executives about safety regulations for trucks entering the U.S., from brakes and tires to securing loads. In all 785 drivers took part in 16 half-day workshops, including six in Mexico.
The International Border Qualification Program takes that process a giant step further. Offering two-day intensive training sessions in Mexico – something no other state is doing – the program gives international truckers a thorough look at regulations and the inspection process. Drivers who complete the course and pass written and hands-on tests qualify to use the WhatsApp
smartphone application. They can use the app to contact ADOT inspectors if they have concerns before they approach the border.
Since the first class on July 31 in San Luis, 216 drivers have completed the course. Only six of those trucks required close-up inspections, and only two were pulled out of service for safety violations. So far, 22 drivers have contacted Arizona inspectors using WhatsApp.
Initial results found that more than 100 trucks boosted Arizona’s economy by crossing the border here instead of California. Officers were able to conduct fewer inspections but found more violations, making Arizona roads safer in the process. Trucking groups from as far away as Culiacan, 600 miles south of the border, have asked ADOT to bring the course to them.
This innovative program stems from ADOT’s use of the Arizona Management System championed by Governor Doug Ducey. This approach to continuous improvement empowers employees at state agencies to come up with innovative ways to better serve customers.
In 2018, expect more classes in Mexico, more international commerce boosting Arizona’s economy and safer trucks on Arizona roads.