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Operator Rating System (ORS)

As part of the regulatory compliance review, Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency is making major changes to how it regulates the heavy vehicle transport sector. 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 systems in place to monitor their own performance.

Waka Kotahi is aware of industry concerns with some aspects of the ORS and has been reviewing the system to address those concerns. We are currently developing a detailed business case for a revised ORS and hope to have that completed by June 2021. Industry and Waka Kotahi 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.

Therefore, Waka Kotahi is advising operators and customers that they should not rely on ORS as a measure of safety and compliance at present.

Regulatory compliance review 

What are the concerns with the ORS?

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

These included:

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

What has this meant for operators?

It meant ORS rating letters (providing operators with a rating between one to five stars) that were to be sent out to operators in February 2019 were not sent. The previous ratings are now out of date.

Customers should no longer rely on the ORS as a measure of safety and compliance. In the absence of the ORS, customers should expect operators to demonstrate their management of safety and compliance through safety measures they have put in place.

ORS review timeframes

An ORS review is taking place and is being considered in the context of the wider regulatory compliance review. 

One option is to develop an accurate, evidence-based measurement system that incorporates a wide range of safety and compliance measures. The system must be fit for purpose, durable and contribute to increased safety and compliance across the commercial transport sector.