Ia Ara Aotearoa Transporting New Zealand

 
New ORS about fairness

New ORS about fairness

Ia Ara Aotearoa Transporting New Zealand

 February 2020    RTF News

Road Transport Forum is working hard behind the scenes with officials from Waka Kotahi New Zealand Transport Agency as they develop a replacement for the now defunct Operator Rating System (ORS).

"This is a critical piece of work that will have significant implications for transporters for many years to come, which is why we are pushing to make the new system as fair as possible," says RTF chief executive Nick Leggett.

"Despite certain sectors drum-beating for a tough and restrictive regulatory regime around heavy vehicles, RTF is strongly advocating for a balanced approach that incentivises compliance and assists transport companies to be their best.

"With the road toll increasing and heavy vehicles in the public crosshairs, improving safety and the perception of our industry is extremely important and in all of our interests," says Leggett.

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Road Transport Forum is working hard behind the scenes with officials from Waka Kotahi New Zealand Transport Agency as they develop a replacement for the now defunct Operator Rating System (ORS).
"This is a critical piece of work that will have significant implications for transporters for many years to come, which is why we are pushing to make the new system as fair as possible," says RTF chief executive Nick Leggett.
"Despite certain sectors drum-beating for a tough and restrictive regulatory regime around heavy vehicles, RTF is strongly advocating for a balanced approach that incentivises compliance and assists transport companies to be their best.
"With the road toll increasing and heavy vehicles in the public crosshairs, improving safety and the perception of our industry is extremely important and in all of our interests," says Leggett.
"However, it is critical that the new ORS remains evidence-based and takes into account the real reasons for the majority of road accidents.
"For example, only 7% of accidents are as a result of faulty machinery. The rest are due to other causes, predominantly driver behaviour. RTF does not want to see an over-emphasis on compliance around machinery and gear when focusing more on human behaviour and driver distraction could yield much better results when it comes to improving road safety in this country.
"While I understand that there will be some apprehension out there about what a new ORS will mean for operators, the vast majority of companies are already committed to a high standard of safety and compliance, which gives me confidence that most operators will adapt relatively seamlessly to whatever the new system brings."
In fact, for many operators the new ORS will present an opportunity to reinforce their credentials to customers through sound regulatory compliance. Just like the concern over environmental considerations, high standards of safety will become an ever-more-important selling point for transport businesses, as more customers seek assurance around the ethics of their business partners.
On a regulator level, RTF has been pushing for greater recognition of good practices by transport companies for a while now and sees the new ORS as a potential means to do that.
However, a regulatory regime also needs to have teeth, explains Leggett: "It doesn't take a genius to know that there are small number of people in our industry who attempt to get away with what they can to cut corners to reduce their costs.
"Where such an operator doesn't meet the standards and compromises the safety of their own staff and other road users, it is in the industry's interest for the regulator to deal with them.
"As an ultra-competitive sector, we not only rely on a vigilant regulator to enforce high standards for reasons of safety, but also to make sure that the playing field is even across the board and fair for all players in the industry.
"Road transport in NZ cannot afford a situation where non-compliant companies are allowed to get away with poor and unsafe practices," says Leggett.
"This leads to a distortion in the road freight market and compliant businesses effectively subsidising non-compliant ones."
RTF will continue to work to make sure that the objectives of the new ORS are to ensure the road transport industry is as safe as it possibly can be, while allowing trucking businesses to carry out their vital function as the economic arteries of the country.
The result, if NZTA gets it right, will be greater public confidence in the industry, safer roads, fewer accidents and operator ratings that are fair and provide operators with reliable evidence of their good practices.


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