Arizona offers new program to speed up border inspections

By Tyson Fisher, Land Line staff writer | 9/5/2017

After discovering truckers were using California and Texas ports of entry rather than those in Arizona because of long inspection times, the Arizona Department of Transportation has recently made adjustments to its border inspection process to bring truckers back through the Grand Canyon State.

According to Tom Herrmann, an ADOT spokesman, Arizona determined trucking companies were choosing to cross the border in California and Texas since drivers were under the impression that an Arizona inspection “took too long and was not consistent.” In response, ADOT devised a program to educate truckers, mechanics and owners about the inspection process in Nogales, San Luis and Douglas.

This past fall, the ADOT Border Liaison Unit began educating international truckers about the department’s expectations during inspections, including tires, brakes and securing loads. This year, ADOT is taking a new safety inspection education program to Mexico.

ADOT also added the International Border Inspection Qualification program that allows drivers to communicate with inspectors before the approach to the border. Drivers can receive certification for this program by completing a two-day training program and passing a written and a field exam. Upon completion, drivers can use WhatsApp to send images of potential safety issues to inspectors. From there, inspectors will let the driver know the issue is OK or make recommendations on how to remedy the issue. Nearly 70 drivers were certified through the first two training sessions, according to Herrmann.

“Truckers who complete the (International Border Inspection Qualification) program can expect faster inspections based in part on their demonstrated understanding of U.S. and Arizona safety regulations,” Herrmann told Land Line. “Drivers who do not complete the program can expect a continued close inspection program.”

The program appears to be working. ADOT reports fewer 37-point Level 1 inspections over the past year. Currently, the International Border Inspection Qualification program with the WhatsApp feature is only available at the San Luis port of entry. However, ADOT plans on rolling out the program at all the San Luis, Nogales and Douglas border entries.

Herrmann said that within the first few months of the training program, the state has seen a 7 percent increase in traffic at San Luis, including seven companies that have returned to Arizona and 15 companies that have come to Arizona for the first time. This can have a large impact on Arizona’s economy as approximately $30 billion in imports and exports passed through the three ports in 2015.

For more information about the International Border Inspection Qualification program, click here.

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