PHOENIX – An innovative truck safety training program is continuing to make Arizona roads safer 18 months after Arizona Department of Transportation enforcement officers began taking their important messages to Mexican truck drivers south of the border.
More than 11,000 times in the past 18 months, Mexican truck drivers who have completed ADOT’s rigorous, two-day International Border Inspection Qualification have used the agency’s commercial ports of entry in Nogales, San Luis and Douglas. These qualified drivers have been stopped for significant safety violations just 31 times, or once in every 355 crossings.
ADOT’s Enforcement and Compliance Division launched the program, the first by any state department of transportation to provide safety inspection training in Mexico, with a goal of making Arizona roads safer while supporting the flow of commerce. The state-certified law enforcement officers who staff ADOT’s commercial ports of entry along the international border teach drivers and mechanics from Mexico about the safety requirements for driving commercial trucks in Arizona.
The program has been a tremendous success by any measure, including the 576 drivers who have received the qualification, said Tim Lane, director of ADOT’s Enforcement and Compliance Division.
“The improved safety record of drivers who have completed the training shows that our training program is very effective, and that the drivers attending our sessions are taking the process very seriously,” Lane said. “We are making a positive impact on safety on Arizona roads.”
There have been 25 two-day training sessions, and nine more sessions are scheduled over the next seven months. In addition, ADOT officers will offer seven requalification classes – one-day refresher programs for drivers who have completed the International Border Inspection Qualification.
Another innovation allows qualified drivers to communicate with ADOT officers before approaching the border using WhatsApp, a smartphone application. Drivers have used the app 233 times so far, with about 80 percent of those contacts revealing safety violations. Allowing truckers to perform repairs before approaching the border saves companies time and money.