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HPMV permit applications to include an operator safety check

From 17 August 2015 we introduced a safety check when assessing all high productivity motor vehicle (HPMV) permit applications, including 50MAX. Considering the safety of all road users is required when the Transport Agency issues a permit under the Land Transport Rule: Vehicle Dimension and Mass 2002.  

For the vast majority of operators in New Zealand the safety check will have no effect on their permit being issued or how long it takes for their application to be processed. There is no additional cost to a permit application.  

The safety check had been discussed with various industry interest groups for some months prior to its introduction.  The safety check is seen as a mechanism that can help give both the Transport Agency and road controlling authorities’ confidence that access and use of their roads is being appropriately managed.

The safety check will look at the Operator Rating System score for the previous two years, together with specified offences, permit and weight breaches recorded over the previous 12 months. The size of the operator’s fleet will also be taken into account in establishing whether there is a safety risk in granting a permit.

If the safety check raises any areas of concern, the permitting team will discuss the application with the regional Commercial Transport team where the operator is based.  A limited 12 month permit may be issued while we work with the operator to improve the safety of their business. 

Where those safety concerns are deemed to be serious, the permit application will be declined. If an operator is declined a permit, we will work with them to help them improve the safety of their business.

Any operator who is declined a permit is able to request a review of the decision by writing to the Transport Agency’s Operations Manager, Customer Access.

How does the safety check process work?

The Transport Agency’s Freight & Register Records team, who process the permit application, will conduct the safety check. The team looks at the Operator Rating System (ORS) score for the previous two years, along with offences not included in ORS, with weight given as to whether the trend is improving, stable, or deteriorating.

The offences not included in the ORS which will be considered as part of the safety check include;

  • exceeding weight limits
  • speed camera offences
  • overdimension offences)
  • exceeding HPMV limits (double weighted)
  • exceeded gross-weight offences (double weighted.

Fleet size is preferred to kilometres travelled as the means of determining the scale of an operator’s business as this requires less calculation therefore the safety check can be processed faster. In addition kilometres travelled are used when calculating the ORS score. 

Operators who have an ORS rating of 4 and 5 and who have few offences relative to their fleet size can expect to be granted a full 24 month permit.

Operators who have a large number of offences and/or those with low ORS ratings may be granted a limited permit. In some cases the application may be declined.

It’s important to note that the safety check calculation is an initial screening assessment only and no final decision will be made without discussion with the regional Commercial Transport team where the operator is based. This regional consultation acts as a safeguard to ensure all the available information is considered before a decision is made. Following this discussion a permit may be issued for a limited period and/or with additional conditions which will be put in place to minimise any safety risk. In some cases, the application may be declined. 

Frequently asked questions

What is the purpose of the check?

When assessing applications, the Transport Agency must consider two aspects of safety under the Land Transport Rule. While the safety of the vehicle with respect to other road users is duly considered, the assessment of any potential risk created by the operator responsible for the permit must be checked with reference to available information on operator performance.

Do all new permit and renewal applications get checked?

Yes - all operators applying for an HPMV permit, including 50MAX, from 17 August will require a check. Existing permits are not affected.

What happens if I pass the check?

You will be issued a 24 month permit.

What happens if I fail the check?

Depending on the result of your check the Transport Agency will contact you to discuss your compliance performance before making a decision regarding the term of any future permit. As a consequence of that discussion you could receive a limited permit, for 12 months which may include conditions of operation, or not be issued a permit at all.

How can I appeal the check result and decision?

If you are not satisfied with the result of the safety check, you can appeal the decision by writing to the Transport Agency, Customer Access, Operations Manager to initiate a review. If you appeal the decision you will have a response within 10 working days.

Who can I speak to about my safety check?

Call 0800 699 000 and ask to speak to someone from the Freight and Register Records team.
How can I improve the safety of my business?

Contact the Transport Agency office in your region and ask to speak to a commercial transport officer. We can then discuss the various methods to help you improve your safety such as vehicle maintenance and driver management which will help achieve the level of compliance required for a 24 month permit approval.

How long does the check take and will this add time to the permit process?

• If you pass the check the processing of your permit application will not be delayed
• If the check indicates safety concerns you will be advised of the outcome of your permit application and what that means.

Will the safety check affect the cost of a permit?

No, the cost of your permit will remain the same.