PHOENIX – Education and cooperation on both sides of the international border make for safer and more efficient movement of commercial truck traffic between Arizona and Mexico.
That’s the theme of meetings, events and programs the Arizona Department of Transportation offers for transportation leaders, elected officials and heads of trucking firms on both sides of the border. ADOT’s goal: educating the trucking industry about how safety compliance can reduce inspection times and make roads safer.
“There is a great spirit of cooperation among law enforcement agencies and the transportation industry on both sides of the border, and we want to continue that with educational programs and other efforts that will help everyone involved,” said Tim Lane, director of ADOT’s Enforcement and Compliance Division, which conducts safety inspections at Arizona’s commercial ports of entry in addition to making sure commercial vehicles follow federal and state regulations.
In 2015, $30 billion in both imports and exports moved through the state’s border ports, supporting 100,000 Arizona jobs.
“These innovative programs that make our border inspections more efficient have a direct impact on international commerce and Arizona’s economy,” ADOT Director John Halikowski said. “They are helping improve the flow of commercial traffic while keeping Arizona’s highways safe.”
ADOT, in partnership with the Arizona Department of Public Safety and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, holds commercial vehicle industry days to provide information about safety regulations, permitting and the inspection process. ADOT has future plans to conduct commercial motor vehicle training in Mexico to help improve the cross-border experience for Mexican companies and stakeholders.
Members of ADOT’s Border Liaison Unit hold regular meetings in Yuma and San Luis, Nogales and Douglas on topics including permits, weight limits, inspection procedures, brakes and securing loads. The unit also plans annual workshops to discuss crucial issues for cross-border traffic.
Soon, ADOT’s outreach will include sessions in Mexico offering an International Border Inspection Qualification program, in which drivers can receive a certificate documenting their training to help streamline the inspection process and allow ADOT inspectors to focus on those who haven’t completed the program.
“Drivers, trucking companies and law enforcement all agree that safer vehicles are good for both the industry as well as for the public sharing the roads with commercial trucks,” Lane said. “The Border Liaison Unit and the International Border Inspection Qualification program are designed to make that happen.”
Also part of outreach in Mexico will be introducing innovative social media technology to improve communication between drivers and inspectors. In a pilot program, the WhatsApp application will allow drivers to check on border wait times, ask questions and share photos of their vehicles with ADOT inspectors to find out whether something could delay them in the inspection process.
To learn more about the Border Liaison Unit and Arizona-Sonora border relations, visit azdot.gov/BorderLiaisonUnit.