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Operator Rating System (ORS)

The NZ Transport Agency is making major changes across the board to how it regulates the heavy vehicle transport sector, as part of the regulatory compliance review. That includes reviewing the Operator Rating System (ORS). This does not affect the expectation that all operators will continue to take responsibility for achieving a high standard of road safety and have in systems in place to monitor their own performance.

The Transport Agency is aware of industry concerns with some aspects of the ORS and has been planning to review the system to address those concerns. That work has now been picked up as part of the broader regulatory compliance review. Industry and the Transport Agency still stand by the benefits for safety and compliance that ORS was intended to offer, however the system as it stands does not achieve this.

The Transport Agency is advising operators and customers that they should no longer rely on ORS as a measure of safety and compliance.

Further information on the regulatory compliance review is available on our website at: www.nzta.govt.nz/regulatory-compliance-review

What are the concerns with the current ORS?

Since the introduction of the ORS as a tool to influence safety and compliance practices, several factors have emerged that have degraded the accuracy of some the data used to calculate an ORS score. 

These include:

  • Reduction in Police Roadside Inspection Data (RID) inputs into the system
  • The emergence of ‘pre-CoFing’. A practice whereby industry check and fix any vehicle compliance issues before undertaking a formal Certificate of Fitness (CoF) assessment (which is recorded for input into the ORS)
  • System limitations that mean the ORS does not include other significant safety and compliance information
  • In some specific cases the Current algorithms results in a rating score that does not accurately reflect that operator’s safety and compliance.

What does this mean for operators?

This means that ORS rating letters (providing operators with a rating between one to five stars) that were due to be sent out to operators in February 2019 but have been placed on hold until the current rating system has been reviewed. The previous ratings are now out of date.

We are also advising customers that they should no longer rely on ORS as a measure of safety and compliance. In the absence of ORS customers should expect operators to demonstrate their management of safety and compliance through the safety measures they put in place.  This includes the last star ratings provided to operators in 2018.

ORS review timeframes

The ORS review is still scheduled to commence in the first quarter of this year and is now likely to be considered in the context the wider regulatory compliance review.  Please be assured that the review will seek input from key stakeholders including industry to scope future options.

One potential option is developing a new accurate, evidence-based measurement system that incorporates a wide range of safety and compliance measures. As you will appreciate our future system must be fit for purpose, durable and contribute to increased safety and compliance across the commercial transport sector.

You can expect to hear from us as soon as we can provide a further update on the next steps of the ORS review, including greater clarity around timeframes.

How can I have my say?

Feedback and comments on ORS and the current review can be directed to regulation@nzta.govt.nz. Please include ORS review in the subject line. All feedback will be considered as part of the review when it commences.

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