By Tom Herrmann / ADOT Communications
Nobody’s perfect. But Arizona Department of Transportation officers performing safety inspections and Mexican truck drivers who have completed the International Border Inspection Qualification program are oh so close.
By the end of February, more than 600 truck drivers from Mexico will have completed a two-day ADOT safety course since the program began in July 2017.
Those drivers have crossed the border more than 11,000 since completing their training. All but 31 of those crossings have come with no significant safety violations
. That’s a success rate of 99.7 percent. In December, the success rate peaked at 99.9 percent.
ADOT’s Enforcement and Compliance Division officers are the first in the U.S. to travel south of the international border for safety training that teaches drivers everything from how to secure a load to when brakes need to be replaced.
When the program started, ADOT officers scheduled just four sessions over a six-month period. High demand for the program has led to 25 sessions in about 19 months, with nine more events scheduled between now and September.
One important factor in the program’s success: WhatsApp
. Qualified drivers can use the smartphone application to speak with inspectors before approaching the border. About 80 percent of those calls have identified violations that were fixed before the inspections, saving drivers and their companies time and money.
IBIQ is not one-and-done. This year ADOT is launching a requalification program, a one-day workshop that allows already-qualified drivers to refresh their skills and learn about new developments. Seven classes are scheduled between March and September.
What’s in it for Arizona drivers? Economic growth, and safety.
Economy: Less time at the port means more trucks bringing commercial products into Arizona every day. That means more business for border communities and for the hundreds of companies that support the trucking industry across Arizona.
Safety: It’s more than just having qualified drivers bring safer trucks across the border. ADOT officers can now spend more of their time inspecting vehicles that are more likely to have bad brakes, worn tires or other violations.
A boost to Arizona’s economy. Serious safety violations are prevented. Safe trucks spend less time at the port of entry and more time on the road. About as close to perfect as you’ll find.