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Land Transport Rule: Operator Safety Rating 2008

This rule sets out the key aspects of the operator rating system. The rating of operators will allow NZ Transport Agency compliance units, and police enforcement units, to focus on operators of vehicles covered by the rule.

About the rule

The rule is available in consolidated format (ie, a full, up-to-date, version of the rule including all its amendments) or as the original, unamended rule with separate amendment rules. Choose the option that best suits your needs from the list below.

To access the consolidated version of the rule (available only in PDF format), click on ‘Consolidation’ below.

The electronic versions of legislation on this website, and any legislation printed from the website:

  • have no official status

  • are made available for information only and should not be relied on as the authoritative text.

About the questions and answers

Questions and answers are provided to accompany a new rule or amendment rule when it is signed. These versions of the questions and answers are not updated to take into account any later amendments to the rule and are retained for historic interest only.

If you have any questions, please contact the Rules Team by emailing rules@nzta.govt.nz

Land Transport Rules – questions & answers

Q&A for Operator Safety Rating 2008

(Rule 81002)

1. What is the Operator Safety Rating System?

The Operator Rating System (OSRS) aims to improve road safety by rating commercial road transport operators so that deficient operators can be more readily identified and targeted for advice and enforcement action, if needed, by Land Transport New Zealand and the NZ Police.

The OSRS will enable the NZ Transport Agency to pull together information, such as certificate of fitness (CoF) inspection results, crash data and offence data, and use it:

  • to produce ratings for operators based on how well they are meeting or exceeding the requirements of transport regulations
  • to target advice and assistance to where it is most needed
  • as a targeting tool for enforcement action by NZ Police.

The OSRS will also provide an incentive for operators who have not previously complied with regulations (and are therefore a high safety risk) to improve their behaviour.

2. What is the purpose of the Operator Safety Rating Rule?

Land Transport Rule: Operator Safety Rating 2008 (the Rule) enables ratings to be made public and provides a process for operators to have their ratings reviewed.

3. What are the benefits of the OSRS?

The expected benefits of the OSRS include:

  • a reduction in heavy vehicle crashes and associated social costs due to the improved compliance that will result from targeted enforcement
  • fairer and more effective enforcement throughout the transport industry, which will lead to a level playing field for the industry
  • operators improving their standards and allowing consumers to make informed choices, as a result of operators being encouraged to do so by the publication of ratings.

4. What is in the Rule?

The Rule covers:

  • the high-level criteria for the Director’s approval of the rating methodology
  • details of the star ratings to be assigned
  • how an operator would be notified of their rating
  • public notification of ratings
  • the avenues for an operator to notify corrections, errors or omissions
  • the review process available to an operator
  • the appointment of a review panel
  • the prohibition of an operator publishing a rating that is not accompanied by the date that the rating was finalised
  • the requirement to make the rating method available.

5. What is the legal basis for the Rule?

Section 158(b)(vii) of the Land Transport Act 1998 provides for the Minister of Transport to make Land Transport Rules that set out categories of safety performance for transport service operators and approved taxi organisations, and provide the means for assessing (and re-assessing) and publishing levels of safety performance in relation to those categories.

6. Was the Rule consulted on?

Yes. The yellow (public consultation) draft of the Rule was released on 11 April 2007 and was made available to about 700 organisations and individuals who had registered their interest in the Rule. The availability of the yellow draft was published in metropolitan and selected regional daily newspapers, Tui Mai magazine and the New Zealand Gazette. The draft was made available, together with Questions and Answers, on the Land Transport NZ website. Land Transport NZ received 32 submissions on the draft Rule, which were taken into account in redrafting the Rule for government scrutiny and eventual signing.

7. Why is the OSRS being implemented?

Heavy vehicle numbers are growing at twice that of other vehicles in New Zealand, and as a result, are also contributing to a growing proportion of all road fatalities. Figures indicate that, for the year 2005, truck-related fatalities (including fatalities involving truck and non truck occupants) account for 20 percent of all road fatalities.

The commercial road transport sector is very competitive, and non-compliant operators can undermine regulatory and safety performance when they are making decisions about maximising loads, just-in-time delivery deadlines and maintenance costs. Without effective enforcement, those who operate within the law face unfair economic pressure from operators who do not comply.

The OSRS will help improve land transport safety by enabling better targeting of risky operators and encouraging all operators to lift their performance against transport standards and regulations.

8. Who will the OSRS apply to?

The Rule allows all transport service licence holders and approved taxi organisations to be assigned a safety rating, but the system will be implemented in stages. Approved taxi organisations will not be rated under the OSRS when it is initially introduced, but will be phased in at a later date.

9. When will the public rating system come into force?

At least six months' information needs to be rated in order to provide a meaningful rating. Accordingly, the first rating is expected in mid 2009. While the Rule has been signed, its implementation will occur once the system has been built and tested and to allow the collection and analysis of at least six months' worth of data.

Accordingly, an operator will not be able to receive a public rating until six months' data is obtained. However, new operators will receive assistance as how to comply from the NZ Transport Agency staff as part of the licence application process.

10. Is the Rule focused solely on safety?

Initially, yes. However, the Rule is one of a number of Rules designed to support the New Zealand Transport Strategy (NZTS), which is focused on producing an affordable, integrated, safe, responsive, and sustainable transport system by 2010. The Rule will support the development of a system that will contribute to the objectives of the NZTS by:

  • assisting economic development
  • improving access and mobility
  • protecting and promoting public health, and
  • ensuring environmental sustainability.

11. How will the OSRS work?

The NZ Transport Agency is working towards an environment where customers will be able to select transport providers with high safety standards, based on an operator’s rating. The OSRS is one of the tools that will be used to enable regulatory activity and roadside enforcement to be targeted to where it is most needed.

The OSRS will link a range of transport service events such as Certificate of Fitness (CoF) inspections and roadside audits to operators. Currently, events are only linked to commercial vehicles and drivers. The OSRS will allow the rating of operators according to their performance by using information, which is already being collected, in a way that hasn’t been possible to date, by linking it directly to operators.

12. Who will run the new system and who will use the ratings?

The Rule empowers the publication of ratings and the requirement to make these available on the NZ Transport Agency website and ratings may also be made available via other channels.

Once ratings are published, customers of commercial transport services will be able to use the ratings to select providers who have shown higher levels of regulatory performance.

Good operators will be able to use it to market their organisations. Government agencies such as the Accident Compensation Commission and the Department of Labour, and finance and insurance companies, may also find it useful as a risk measure.

13. How will the OSRS directly affect operators?

Operators with above average ratings may receive less attention from compliance and enforcement staff, and greater interest from prospective purchasers of transport services. Conversely, operators with below average ratings will receive more attention and may suffer from a poorer public interest due to a low rating.

14. How will the OSRS affect heavy vehicle drivers?

Information will continue to be collected from CoF and roadside inspections of vehicles and will contribute towards an operator’s rating. Driver offending in respect of such things as speed limits, holding correct driver licence classes and non-compliance with work time and logbook requirements will also contribute to the OSRS rating of their operator. The ability to target non-compliant operators or drivers will be enhanced through the OSRS.

15. What do operators need to do to ensure a good rating?

Operators need to ensure they have effective management and maintenance systems in place – for example, for passing CoF and roadside inspections. Operators with effective systems and good patterns of behaviour will be well-positioned to receive a good rating when the system comes into effect. Note that the OSRS will not be based solely on CoF and roadside inspections, and that offences and crashes are likely to carry a heavier weighting within a rating.

Although rating information is already being collected, there is still time before the first ratings are calculated for operators to take action that will increase the likelihood of a higher rating. Reminding drivers about things like safe driving, logbooks requirements, loading limits and reinforcing the importance of driving to the speed limit will all help to ensure a good rating.

Operators can contact their nearest NZ Transport Agency regional office and ask to speak to a Transport Regulatory Advisor (TRA). The TRA can provide can provide advice on how an operator’s OSRS performance may be improved. This may involve a self-assessment tool, the TRA assisting with information, or possibly a more detailed review of regulatory performance. The TRA can use the information from the review to provide advice and assistance on how an operator

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