How often do you review your safety data? If you are not reviewing your safety data – meaning newly reported inspections, violations, and crashes – on a daily (or at least weekly) basis, you are missing big opportunities for improved safety and safety scores.
At the bare minimum, you likely know that the FMCSA updates your carrier’s CSA scores once a month. If that’s when you get your first glimpse of the “news,” you are missing opportunities left and right to help your drivers and improve your business. Reviewing safety data monthly after FMCSA updates is like saving thirty newspapers, waiting ten more days, and then reading them all at once. (The CSA monthly data is already ten or more days old by the time it is released, by the way). Does that make sense? Absolutely not…and neither does saving up thirty days of your newest safety data to review all at once. In reality, it is possible – and with Vigillo’s help, automatic – to see newly reported inspections, violations, and crashes on a daily basis.
It’s easier than you think and the payoffs are both significant and immediate. Here are five top reasons to help your drivers and your carrier by reviewing your safety data daily (or at least weekly):
1. Counsel drivers as close as possible to the time of the incident.
This is the absolute most important A#1 reason to review safety data frequently. Your drivers are adults. Inspections and crashes often bring with them the opportunity to counsel (and even praise!) your drivers so they may improve in the future. Common sense and adult educators both maintain that adults learn best when information is relevant and timely.
Stop for a second and consider. Is the cause of safety (not to mention the best interests of your drivers) better served by near-immediate feedback OR counseling delayed a month or more? The answer is obvious, right? By the way, we are including regional managers, terminal managers, and any other driver managers in this discussion as well – would it be helpful to these transportation professionals to have daily updates for the drivers they manage? Of course it would.
2. Ensure inspections in the FMCSA Compass Portal correspond to inspections submitted by drivers.
It’s important for carriers to know what inspections have occurred (and what occurred during the inspection) for multiple reasons:
- Driver has NOT turned in an inspection report. Most carriers require drivers to turn in their paper inspections. Without comparing these to the inspections the FMCSA has on record, how will you notice when a driver does not turn in an inspection report?
- Timely action on violations. An inspection with violations requires action. Maintenance might be required for a vehicle. A driver may need counseling or additional training. The carrier might need to provide notice and/or pay a fine to the state – both of which have time requirements. If you don’t know about the inspection, how can you take timely corrective action?
- Another carrier’s inspections. Not all inspections listed under your DOT number truly belong to your carrier. Trucks that previously were connected to your carrier may not have taken the time to remove decals and markings, for example. Typos on the inspection report occur as well. How will you identify an inspection incorrectly attributed to your carrier in a timely way without reviewing daily inspection data?
- The benefit of an unreported inspection. Occasionally, a driver will turn in their paper inspection and it does not appear in the FMCSA data. This provides an informed safety professional with some interesting options: For a good inspection, you may want to challenge the absence of the inspection using a DataQs challenge. Alternatively, you might choose to enjoy the benefit of an unreported inspection. Most inspections appear within a few days of occurring but we have seen inspections come in 6-, 12-, and surprisingly even 18- months or more from the incident date.
3. Address inaccuracies before they affect your monthly carrier CSA score.
“Wait a second…That’s not even our driver!”
“Hey – These violations are different than what was on the paper inspection”
“They got the wrong DOT number written down. That’s not right.”
Most transportation professionals know by now that inspections, violations, and crashes from the past two years affect your carrier’s CSA scores. More important, though, is that your carrier’s most recent incidents (from the past 6 months) carry a triple time-weight penalty. That means your newest violations will hurt your score far more than old violations (with no time-weight penalty) dropping off will help. If you wait to see your new violations when your monthly carrier CSA scores come out, you’ve completely missed the window to review and challenge inaccurate or questionable inspections, violations, and crashes. At that point – Katie, bar the door! – the best you’ll be able to do is challenge those items to try to improve next month’s scores.
Has this happened to carriers? YES! Repeatedly. Over and over. It’s a question of when – not if – inaccurate data will hurt your carrier CSA score. The FMCSA subcommittee on CSA recently identified data quality problems as one of the top three problems of CSA. Don’t squander the opportunity to get in front of bad information and try to correct before it is public for your management team, customers, and insurers. Believe me – they will see bad jumps in CSA scores. As the saying goes: An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of very uncomfortable meetings and phone calls…or something like that.
4. Available on your mobile device.
It’s true. You can get Vigillo Daily Updates delivered right to your pocket – on your mobile phone or even on a tablet. How cool is that? With a quick flick at the end of a meeting, you can know the most current information about your drivers – even inspections that happened just yesterday. A safety director related the following story to me:
“I was at the terminal for a meeting and just checked my Vigillo Daily Updates on my iPhone. Who should walk by me on the way out but my driver, Bobby Smithson. I just saw that he had gotten a clean inspection yesterday in Indiana. “Great job on that inspection yesterday, Bobby!’ I said. He stopped in his tracks, eyebrows raised in amazement. ‘How do you know about that already?’ He asked. ‘Oh, I keep in touch with ALL the inspectors,’ I winked. Needless, to say that driver felt both praised and amazed. Thanks, Vigillo!”
5. No work on your part. Vigillo automates the entire process.
Once you are set up, new inspection, violation, and crash data are available automatically on your computer or mobile device. You’ll be current on all DOT-reported information up through midnight the previous day. It couldn’t be simpler.
Get started or learn more about Vigillo Daily Updates HERE.