Truck drivers crossing from Mexico to the United States can now use a quick entry system similar to the FAST program in use at the Canadian border, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge announced today in El Paso.

The system will allow trusted truckers to cross the border by swiping a ‘prox’ or ‘proximity’ card which is offered to carriers and their drivers who have pre-registered and passed various security clearances.

El Paso's system, which began operation in late September on a test basis, is now in full operation. Similar systems are scheduled to begin operating in January at border crossings in Laredo; Hidalgo; Brownsville; Nogales, Ariz., Otay Mesa, and Calexico, Calif.

Two of six truck lanes at the Bridge of the Americas in East El Paso are dedicated to the "Free and Secure Trade" system and Customs officials said truckers could expect waits there of about 15 minutes compared to truckers in other lanes which could endure delays of an hour or longer.