PHOENIX — Two years after launching a first-of-its-kind truck safety training program for drivers and companies in Mexico, the Arizona Department of Transportation has added refresher instruction for those who have been through the program.

ADOT launched the International Border Inspection Qualification in 2017 by sending trained officers from commercial ports of entry into Mexico to provide instruction, in Spanish, on safety regulations. The goals: reducing violations that can lead to delays for truckers from Mexico and making state highways safer by allowing ADOT officers to focus on vehicles needing the most attention.

Since the program launched, the nearly 700 drivers with the qualification have crossed the border a combined 15,000 times with just 49 major safety violations. In addition to what they gain from the training, qualified drivers can communicate with officers before approaching the border using WhatsApp, a smartphone application, to learn whether a potential safety issue needs to be addressed before heading to a commercial port of entry at the Arizona-Mexico border.

To build on that momentum, ADOT recently launched a six-hour requalification class for those who have been through the program. Beyond an initial offering in Hermosillo, Sonora, ADOT will offer the requalification class this year in Douglas in Arizona and Ensenada, Puerto Penasco and San Luis in Mexico.

“These drivers and their companies opened the door for tremendous improvements in safety among hundreds of truckers who cross the border into Arizona every day,” said Mark Sanders, director of international programs for ADOT. “This follow-up instruction allows them to keep their knowledge up-to-date while the overall program continues fostering more efficient trade between Arizona and Mexico.”

The refresher course covers in brief the main points covered in the original qualification class. Topics include the proper working order of brakes, wheels, tires, suspension and electrical systems, as well as how to properly secure loads and other general information.

The refresher training also covers new federal or state regulations pertaining to commercial trucking.

Identifying and repairing safety violations before they result in delays at the border saves trucking companies time and money and encourages drivers to cross the border in Arizona, a boon for the state’s economy.

The program has seen considerable expansion in the past year. ADOT officers held the first International Border Inspection Qualification for the maquiladora industry and held their first training in Baja, California, and Hermosillo, Sonora.

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