14 November 2019
Carrot works better than stick when it comes to applying road safety regulations, says Road Transport Forum (RTF) chief
executive Nick Leggett.
“We’d like to see a safety system for commercial heavy vehicle operators that incentivises companies to be their best,
first and foremost,” Leggett says. “This is why we are keen to work with Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency as it develops
a replacement for the Operator Rating System (ORS) it uses to regulate the heavy vehicle industry.”
RTF management and industry representatives attended a workshop with the Transport Agency in Wellington last week, as
part of a review of the system.
“The big opportunity in reviewing the ORS is to examine all the data we have to ensure the emphasis is on the right
place. We are big believers in evidence-based decision making.
“For example, only seven percent of accidents are as a result of faulty machinery, while 93 percent have other causes,
including driver behaviour. We wouldn’t want to see an over-emphasis on compliance around machinery and gear when we
know focusing more on human behaviour and driver distraction would yield us much greater improvements in reducing
accidents and incidents on our roads.
“We believe the road freight companies who are committed to safety for their staff and service for their customers could
use good regulatory compliance as a selling point for their business, as more customers seek assurance around the ethics
of their business partners. We’d like to see recognition of good practices.
“This is about the development of a shared lens between the road freight industry and the regulator. The aim of that
lens is to improve safety and ensure that regulation is fair, reasonable and effective for all parties.
“Where an operator doesn’t meet the standards, and subsequently compromises safety not only of their own staff, but of
other road users, we support the regulator taking the appropriate action.
“The road freight industry is committed to all road users getting to their destination safely. We recognise our role in
that and are committed to engaging in a process that we hope will lead to lower accident and death rates on our roads,”