PHOENIX – An Arizona Department of Transportation safety training program for commercial vehicle drivers using international ports of entry is proving so popular with trucking companies and government officials in Mexico that ADOT has doubled the number of training sessions planned for this fall.
“Trade with Mexico is one way our highways are Key Commerce Corridors that drive Arizona’s economy,” ADOT Director John Halikowski said. “With the support of officials in Sonora, Mexico, we are expanding a program that’s boosting international commerce while ensuring that commercial vehicles are safe.”
Tim Lane, director of ADOT’s Enforcement and Compliance Division, which conducts truck safety inspections at commercial ports of entry, said 46 commercial vehicle drivers attended the International Border Inspection Qualification program in the Sonoran capital of Hermosillo on Aug. 22 and 23.
Representatives from the Sonora governor’s office attended the event in Hermosillo, including Natalia Rivera Grijalva, chief of staff for Governor Claudia Artemiza Pavlovich Arellano, and Secretary Ricardo Martínez Terrazas for the Department of Infrastructure and Urban Development of Sonora. The event was covered by local newspapers, television and radio.
The program teaches commercial vehicle drivers what to expect during safety inspections when they enter Arizona through ports at San Luis, Nogales and Douglas. Including sessions in San Luis Río Colorado, Mexico, and Douglas, 89 drivers have completed training and testing in the program’s first six weeks.
Commercial vehicle drivers who pass examinations at the end of the program are able to communicate with ADOT safety inspectors using WhatsApp, a popular smartphone messaging app. Qualified drivers can send photos of potential safety issues to inspectors, who tell them whether the photos show violations and, if so, how to correct them. Commercial vehicle drivers who have participated in IBIQ training can use WhatsApp at the border ports of entry in Nogales, San Luis and Douglas.
The International Border Inspection Qualification program is part of ADOT’s Border Liaison Unit launched last fall to train commercial vehicle drivers and mechanics on safety inspections at the border. The goal is for trucking companies to make any needed repairs before they approach the border, saving the companies time and money and allowing ADOT inspectors to focus on trucks that are more likely to have safety concerns.
The program is working: ADOT inspectors have conducted fewer border inspections over the past year but have found more violations, increasing safety on Arizona roads. Those improvements have led to more trucks crossing in Arizona instead of elsewhere, boosting the state’s economy.
The International Border Inspection Qualification 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.
The program initially scheduled four training sessions this fall but has added four more at the request of Mexican trucking officials, including one held last week in Douglas, Arizona. The remaining schedule:
* Sept. 19-20 in Nogales, Sonora
* Oct. 3-4 in Douglas, Arizona (to be conducted in English)
* Oct. 11-12 in San Luis Río Colorado, Sonora
* Oct. 24-25 in Culiacán, Sinaloa
* A yet-to-be-determined November date in Hermosillo, Sonora