Steve Bryan, Author at SambaSafety
Introducing Qorta

Introducing Qorta

SambaSafety’s Qorta provides access to critical driver information, turning data into action that makes roads and communities safer.

What Is Qorta™?

Qorta™ is a SaaS risk management and data analytics platform. The platform is designed to make driver safety simpler, more reliable, and accessible to any business whose employees drive for work on a regular basis.

More than just a database, Qorta™ injects intelligence and workflow into the data analysis process, allowing employees to act quickly, make informed decisions, and make their operations and communities safer.

What Can Qorta™ Do For You?

If you have employees or contractors driving for work, you need driver data monitoring. Any time one of your employees drives for work, even in their own car, your company can be held liable for their driving habits, violations, or accidents. The risks and costs of poor drivers on your payroll can be staggering.

Keep in mind that a “driver” doesn’t only mean commercial truck drivers. SambaSafety has solutions to help you monitor every type of driver population.

With Q License, a product on the Qorta platform, you’ll know the driving status of every employee in your company at all times, not just if you pull their driving records every year. All you have to do is tell Qorta™ who your drivers are and we’ll do the rest. Near real-time monitoring will automatically alert you if any of your drivers’ records reflect new negative driver activity, when it happens. Each driver is scored and placed in a risk category, allowing you to focus on your highest risk drivers, coach drivers who are trending in the wrong direction and reward your best drivers. Having access to proactive information will prove your company’s commitment to safety and allow you to protect what’s most important — your company, your drivers, and your community.

Qorta™ also offers a number of workflow tools to easily keep your driver roster current. Bulk driver list upload and custom driver groups allow you to track each driver without missing crucial information, while normalized reporting from state to state unifies reporting when different violations don’t use the same language. You’ll receive new activity alerts and email alerts if anything changes, and you can manage and update driver information at any time.

Q Transportation combines data from state MVR and federal CSA data to provide the industry’s only complete driver and carrier scorecard view that helps companies with regulated drivers act on the most current insights and changes to driver records. Qorta™ is convenient and easy to use, allowing hiring and talent management experts to make more intelligent decisions, act in a timely fashion, and create safer operations and communities.

Qorta™ Is Designed To Elevate Your Safety Culture

Qorta™ isn’t just about keeping your company secure from liability, it’s about encouraging a culture of safety and responsibility among your employees. Every time they take the wheel, their driving habits will reflect on your company culture and your standing in the community. You want to make sure that they’re conducting themselves as well on the road as they do in the office.

Qorta™ Monitoring Solutions

The Qorta™ monitoring platform includes a wide range of utilities to help you keep your drivers and your company out of the press and court.

Q License

Q License provides detailed insights into high-, medium-, and low-risk drivers — including the ability to monitor status and violations, score each driver by risk level, purchase additional records on demand, sync MVRs, and obtain electronic releases — all in one easy-to-use platform.

Q Transportation

Q Transportation pulls CSA (compliance, safety, and accountability) data into a robust scorecard view, offering you actionable information so that you can make well-informed safety decisions. Q Transportation generates carrier scorecards, driver scorecards, IRT scorecards, and tracks daily inspections and violations for regulated drivers.

Run a Safer, More Efficient Company With Qorta

In the end, driver safety is about more than just minimizing company liability in the event of an accident. Your goal as a business owner should be to ensure that your employees and your community are kept safe by verifying that everyone who drives a vehicle on behalf of your company is properly vetted and monitored. Qorta gives you that peace of mind.

Q Transportation Launch

Q Transportation Launch

Today marks the launch date of SambaSafety’s newest product, Q Transportation. Ironically, last Wednesday’s Subcommittee on Highways and Transit hearing in D.C., Under Pressure: The State of Trucking in America, was perhaps the exclamation point as to why Q Transportation was built. 

Q Transportation represents the productization of the vision we had when we combined Vigillo and SambaSafety a little over two years ago. At any new product launch, a good Marketer would start expounding on all the features and benefits of their product line. In this case, that would be the features and benefits of Q Transportation as an expansion of our industry leading driver monitoring platform Qorta. A good Salesperson would be setting appointments and booking flights. A good Product Manager would be right on their heels polling and surveying customers to start lining up the next wave of innovation driven by feedback from early adopters. 

Trust me. We’re going to do all of those things. 

However, first, having just watched several hours of live video of Under Pressure: The State of Trucking in America, I feel compelled to focus on summarizing for you what I learned and why now, more than ever, it is vital that Q Transportation exists.

Summary of the Hearing:

As an industry, we need to redouble our focus on safety, collect and analyze more and better data from more sources, and make that data available in a meaningful way to all stakeholders in truck safety. 

The hearing kicked off with testimony from witnesses who represented safety advocates, motor carriers and suppliers, owner-operators, unions, freight brokers, and law enforcement. Each witness gave a brief presentation followed by committee members’ Q&A. During the next several hours, the challenges and opportunities facing the American Trucking Industry were laid bare. Issues include increasing crash and fatality statistics, rising insurance costs, driver retention, inadequate funding to support crumbling infrastructure, pilot testing of 18 year old drivers, congestion, inflexible HOS rules, too much regulation, too little regulation, bigger trucks, a lack of truck parking, detention time at shipper and receiver docks, CSA Scores, new A/V technology, new technology-based safety features, the economy, new challenges in drug testing, and reauthorization of the FAST Act. Whew, what a plate-full! My industry empathy meter just increased tenfold. 

Near the end, one of the committee members asked the witnesses to name one thing, just one, that Congress could enact today that they all would agree would enhance safety in trucking. There was not a single point of agreement. This brilliant, professional, and experienced group of experts could not name one single thing they could all agree upon to make trucking safer. I would like to offer one single thing. It all boils down to a single statement: Be Proactive. 

It is in this environment of disagreement that today’s safety and risk professional must navigate, and this environment must be approached proactively.  We cannot afford to let things happen and then react. I believe what we witnessed in the hearing this week is equivalent to a physical exam, a checkup of the pains of a trucking industry that is under tremendous pressure. If one of us had a physical exam and were diagnosed with even a few of these pains, we would immediately be put on a program of diet, exercise, medication and lifestyle review. Our doctor would get proactive, deploy a plan, and monitor our results, well into the future. 

Being proactive and deploying monitoring of critical safety measures is the mission of SambaSafety and that mission manifests itself in Q Transportation. There is a lot of talk currently about Safety Culture and how we can evaluate positive vs. deficient safety culture in trucking. A reactive approach in today’s environment is simply not compatible with a positive safety culture — and we’re proud to offer the first and only MVR and CSA monitoring solution to help your organization reach and maintain its safety goals. 

We at SambaSafety are dedicated to safety and providing the innovative solutions our customers need to run safer. That vision is now embodied in the solution, Q Transportation. It is available to every regulated motor carrier who operates under DOT authority in the United States. Our mission is simple: to get you the information you need, when you need it, so you can proactively bring your trucks home safely every day.

Steve Bryan

The State of the CSA Score: IRT and Facing the Future – Fully Informed

The State of the CSA Score: IRT and Facing the Future – Fully Informed

In the dozen years that I have been involved in the Trucking Industry, I have met many amazing people and seen advances in safety technology, data, and analytics that are mind-boggling.  I have met hundreds of business owners and executives who operate their businesses with a vision of literally delivering America, but a mission built on Safety.  If I have heard it once, I’ve heard it 100 times – competition stops at safety’s door.

In 2007, I founded Vigillo and now proudly serve as an executive with SambaSafety. While SambaSafety is a supplier to the industry and exists as a for-profit business, we live and breathe the mission of safety.

Change has been constant in my industry tenure and perhaps none as momentous as the pending changes to the foundation of the CSA scoring methodology – used by industry and the FMCSA to gauge a carrier’s commitment to safety.

The specific topic is the work SambaSafety, and previously Vigillo, has done to work through the transition from CSA to the new IRT Model as defined by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine (NAS) in their report of June 2017:

https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/sites/fmcsa.dot.gov/files/docs/mission/policy/82226/nas-report-final-june-2017.pdf

Change as big as the shift from CSA Classic to an IRT model has led to a robust debate among industry participants. Below are excerpts from some concerns we’ve heard and our response.

 

Question: While it is possible to guess what the new IRT model will look like, how can any early representation produce results that will align with the final model?

We didn’t guess at the design of the model. Just the opposite. NAS provided a 130-page roadmap that describes in detail the IRT model.  With counsel from IRT experts, we followed that roadmap to produce our preview.

Moreover, we have a strong track record helping the industry to anticipate and interpret the CSA scoring methodology. Vigillo released the industry’s first CSA management platform in 2008, two full years before the official launch by FMCSA.

We have helped support changes to the CSA program, culminating in the FAST ACT and the IRT recommendation. In its early years, I provided data to illustrate CSA deficiencies to Congress as CSA criticism grew after its launch. I collaborated with the American Trucking Associations and others in the development of the language that was inserted into the FAST Act which ultimately launched CSA Reform.  At the request of the ATA, I gave the industry comments at the first meeting of the NAS and accompanied the ATA Chairman in the delivery of those comments. Over the next 18 months, I attended every public meeting held by NAS. Before the draft report was published publicly, I was one of the primary reviewers. Ultimately, I led the efforts at SambaSafety to retain the services of IRT experts including one of the NAS Panelists.

Back in 2008, Vigillo gave thousands of motor carriers a preview of what CSA was, how it worked, and how it would impact their safety programs. Advance knowledge of these kinds of significant changes at FMCSA is essential. That’s why we’re doing it again with IRT.

 

Question: Why worry about IRT now when it’s not near implementation?

The NAS report provided for a two-year timeline following the initial 18-month study.  That would call for implementation in June of 2019. FMCSA has stated publicly that its target is September 2019, not significantly behind.

Our best information says that we’ll see careful rollout and solicitation of industry feedback over the following six months.  Full implementation is expected in Q2 2020. The reforms are moving along pretty much as outlined in the FAST Act.

IRT produces very different results for many carriers.  IRT uses a methodology that is easy to interpret but nearly impossible for a non-statistician to calculate. Many of our customers want a preview of their IRT score to be included in the discussion, right from the start. It’s imperative for them to know how their safety culture will be assessed and it allows them to provide informed feedback to the FMCSA during the solicitation period.

At SambaSafety, we live the mission of safety, and we innovate. We invest in R&D and are continually building new products and services to serve that mission.  We think our job is to get there first. We have a proven track record of doing that time and time again. Our customers benefit from our ability to anticipate change, understand formerly hidden risks, participate in the discussion of the new model and prepare for a two-year look back.

It’s a choice to be proactive and get involved early to anticipate significant industry changes like IRT.  Hundreds of carriers are making that choice.  We think that’s a good thing for safety.

 

Question: Does IRT really improve upon legacy CSA?

It does, no question about it.

Let’s look at three of the defects of CSA as it exists today:

  1.  Safety Event Groups – Spiking Scores
  2. Disparate State Enforcement – Geography sways Scores
  3. A relatively small number of scored carriers – Less than 20% of carriers have sufficient data for any CSA Score

First, Safety Event Groups, as constructed today, group carriers in an attempt to compare similar carriers.  It has never worked well and has some problematic side effects.  Five of the seven Groups are based on inspection count.  A carrier can move from one group to another by virtue of just one inspection, even a clean inspection, and scores spike dramatically as a carrier moves up the ladder in Safety Event Groups. Related to this, a Carrier’s CSA Measure produces very different CSA Percentile Scores depending on what group they are in.  As a result, Carrier A with a BASIC Score of say 50% is not comparable to Carrier B with 50% in a different Group. 

IRT does away with Safety Event Groups in favor of a Risk Exposure Index.  IRT utilizes this Exposure Index which is created by blending Power Unit Count, Driver Count, VMT and Inspection Count to normalize carriers for comparison purposes. No groups to leap between and all carriers scores are comparable to each other.

Second, Law Enforcement Disparity has always plagued CSA.  CMV Enforcement on the New Jersey Turnpike is a very different animal than enforcement at the Texas border.  Our country is vast, diverse, and immensely challenging from an enforcement perspective. Enforcement knows their unique challenges and focuses on the specifics that they believe enhances safety in their own back yards. CSA does not formally recognize these challenges and punishes carriers who operate in targeted enforcement zones vs. carriers who do business elsewhere.

IRT is not about the frequency of violations.  IRT looks at patterns of violations; it’s not just counting them.  As a result, the wild swings we see in CSA Scores due to disparate enforcement are largely smoothed out. 

Third, CSA today cannot score a carrier with insufficient inspection data.  As a result, only about 100,000 carriers receive any CSA Score at all. IRT has a lower threshold for what constitutes sufficient data for it to evaluate and provides scores for almost 200,000 carriers.

There are other improvements that IRT brings in terms of a more scientific foundation, ability to adapt to changing patterns in the data and it is set up well for additional data to be added in the future.  We can hardly imagine the magnitude of varying types and amounts of data that trucking operations will generate in the future. IRT is uniquely capable of incorporating new types of data to make continuous improvements to our understanding of what constitutes an excellent Safety Culture in the Trucking Industry.

 

Steve Bryan

 

2019 Truckload Carriers Association Annual Conference

2019 Truckload Carriers Association Annual Conference

SambaSafety is proud to be here in force as one of your Allied partners.  We’re exhibiting, presenting, and sponsoring at what is one of our favorite events of the year.

Almost everything you know about CSA is changing, and Sambasafety is at the forefront of helping carriers understand those dramatic changes and the new methodology called Item Response Theory (IRT).  IRT produces a new generation of CSA Scores including a new single Safety Culture Score. For TCA Attendees only, stop by and visit us at booth 428, drop off your business card, and we’ll follow up after the show and give you a free, sneak peek at your new scores.  Just write “Sneak Peek” on your business card and drop it with us at the booth.

We love Vegas, but don’t gamble on being caught off guard when the new scores release later this year.  Let us show you how it all works and how the new IRT/CSA will evaluate your safety culture.