ADOT safety program prepares drivers using international ports of entry


Jude Joffe-Block: A YEAR AGO, THE ARIZONA DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION "ADOT" LAUNCHED A SAFETY TRAINING PROGRAM FOR COMMERCIAL VEHICLE DRIVERS ON THE MEXICAN SIDE OF THE BORDER. THE GOAL WAS TO PREPARE DRIVERS FOR SAFETY INSPECTION REQUIREMENTS. JOINING ME TO TELL US MORE ABOUT THE PROGRAM IS TIM LANE, ADOT ENFORCEMENT AND COMPLIANCE DIRECTOR. WELCOME TO HORIZONTE.

Tim Lane: THANK YOU, IT’S GREAT TO BE HERE.

Jude Joffe-Block: GREAT. SO TELL US WHAT WAS THE PROBLEM A-DOT WAS TRYING TO SOLVE A YEAR AGO, WHEN YOU LAUNCHED THIS TRAINING FOR 400 MEXICAN TRUCK DRIVERS.

Tim Lane: THAT’S A GREAT QUESTION. AS YOU KNOW A-DOT WORKS CLOSELY WITH OUR COMMUNITY THROUGHOUT ARIZONA AND ALONG THE BORDER AND WE STARTED TO HEAR SOME COMMENTS ABOUT HOW LONG BORDER WAIT TIMES AS COMMERCIAL DRIVERS AND TRUCKS TRY TO CROSS GET INTO THE STATE OF ARIZONA FROM MEXICO. WE LOOKED INTO THAT SUPPORTING GOVERNOR DUCEY’S EFFORTS OF CONTINUOUS IMPROVEMENT AS WELL AS DIRECTOR JOHN HALIKOWSKI, WE’RE IMPROVING CROSS BORDER CONFIDENCE. WE DEVELOPED A PROGRAM, THAT REALLY FOCUSED ON TRAINING COMMERCIAL DRIVERS AND COMPANIES IN MEXICO TO SIGNIFICALLY IMPROVE THEIR CROSS BORDER EFFORT AS THEY BRING COMMERCE INTO ARIZONA.

Jude Joffe-Block: AND SO IT WAS THE LONG WAIT TIMES THAT PEOPLE WERE CONCERNED ABOUT AT THE BORDER AND I WONDER, HOW DOES THIS PROGRAM – HOW DOES THIS HELP?

Tim Lane: EXACTLY. YOU KNOW WE’RE REALLY PROUD OF THIS PROGRAM. CELEBRATING OUR FIRST YEAR ANNIVERSARY. THE NUMBERS REALLY SPEAK FOR THEMSELVES. WE’VE HAD SIXTEEN OF THESE CLASSES TWO DAY CLASSES THAT WE PUT ON IN MEXICO. I HAVE FIVE FULL TIME OFFICERS THAT ARE BILINGUAL THAT GO TO MEXICO AND PUT THIS COURSE ON SO THAT DRIVERS CAN BE MORE PREPARED AND BETTER EDUCATED ON HOW TO SELF-INSPECT THOSE COMMERCIAL VEHICLES. SOME HAVE LESS PROBLEMS AS THEY CROSS INTO ARIZONA. WE’VE TRAINED OVER 400, 409 DRIVERS. THOSE DRIVERS OVER THAT YEAR CROSS 5,253 TIMES, WE’VE HAD UNDER A QUARTER PERCENT OUT OF SERVICE RATES OUT OF THOSE DRIVERS WITH—COMPARED TO THOSE DRIVERS THAT ARE NOT TRAINED IN THE I-B-I NATIONAL BORDER INSPECTION QUALIFICATIONS PROGRAM; IT’S ABOUT SEVEN PERCENT SO THE NUMBERS SPEAK FOR THEMSELVES.

Jude Joffe-Block: SO WHEN THESE DRIVERS SIGN UP, WHAT’S IN IT FOR THEM? WHY ARE THEY MOTIVATED TO TAKE THE COURSE?

Tim Lane: AGAIN. GREAT QUESTIONS. THESE DRIVERS SPEND THEIR LIFE COMING ACROSS THAT BORDER AND ANYTHING WE CAN DO TO HELP THEM AN IMPROVE THEIR CONFIDENCE TO CROSS THE BORDER, REDUCE THEIR WAIT TIMES, REDUCE THE VIOLATIONS THEY HAVE WHEN THEY COME ACROSS THE INSPECTIONS IN OUR STATE. THAT’S JUST THE WIN FOR THE COMMERCIAL VEHICLE IN THIS INDUSTRY. IT’S A WIN FOR MEXICO AND CERTAINELY A WIN FOR ARIZONA. IT PUTS THE FOCUS ON SAFETY AND ARIZONA—NO MATTER HOW YOU APPROACH IT.

Jude Joffe-Block: AND SO YOU GUYS ARE USING “WHAT’S APP”. A TEXT MESSAGING APP AS PART OF THIS PROGRAM, HOW DOES THAT FIT IN?

Tim Lane: WE ARE. AND IT’S AN EXCITING PART OF THIS PROGRAM. WHEN THE DRIVER SUCCESSFULLY COMPLETE THIS PROGRAM. THE OFFICERS SHOW THEM HOW TO DOWNLOAD THE ‘WHATSAPP’ APPLICATION ON THEIR PHONE. THEY WORK WITH THE OFFICERS IN THIS TWO-DAY PROGRAM AND TO UNDERSTAND THIS APP AND WHAT THEY DO IS WHEN THEY’RE WALKING AND DOING THEIR FUTURE INSPECTION ON A NORMAL DAY THEY RUN ACROSS A PROBLEM THATH THEY’RE NOT SURE OF, THEY CAN COMMUNICATE DIRECTLY WITH ONE OF MY INSPECTORS. AND THROUGH THAT THEY CAN ELIMINATE ONE OF THE THOSE PROBLEMS THAT THEY WOULD OF NORMALLY HAD, HAD THEY NOT USED THAT APP. SO FAR WE’VE HAD EXPERIENCED 118 OF THOSE INQUIRERS USING THE ‘WHATSAPP’ AND MY INSPECTORS HAVE TOLD ME 80 OF THOSE WOULD HAVE RESULTED IN AN OUT OF SERVICE FOR THOSE DRIVERS. SO, ONCE AGAIN, IT’S AN INNOVATIVE PROGRAM. IT’S ONLY DONE HERE IN ARIZONA UNDER BOTH OUR GOVERNER AND DIRECTOR HALIKOWSKI SO WE’RE VERY PROUD OF THEM AND TO BE ABLE TO WORK WITH MEXICO IN THIS PROGRAM.

A year ago the Arizona Department of Transportation, ADOT, launched a safety training program for commercial vehicle drivers using international ports of entry. The goal was to prepare drivers for safety inspection requirements. Joining us to tell more about the program is ADOT Enforcement and Compliance Division Director Tim Lane.

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Tim Lane: Director, ADOT Enforcement and Compliance Division

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