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How to get the best possible ORS rating

Note: Please be aware that the ORS is currently undergoing a review. The Transport Agency is advising operators and customers that they should no longer rely on ORS as an accurate measure of safety and compliance.

As an operator or driver, there are steps you can take to ensure you gain the highest Operator Rating System (ORS) rating.


Stay on top of vehicle maintenance

  • You should have a preventative maintenance programme and a defect reporting system that proactively identifies faults and fixes them straight away. If you would like some advice on setting up a preventative maintenance programme, contact a transport officer at your local NZ Transport Agency regional office.

Find your local Transport Agency regional office 

  • Drivers should do a walk-around inspection of the vehicle as part of your (or your driver's) pre-trip routine, and make sure any defects are fixed before heading out on the road. Check out our guides to conducting pre-trip inspections and the Commercial road transport toolkit.

Read Roadside inspection guidelines for heavy vehicles [PDF, 303 KB]
Read the Commercial road transport toolkit

Prepare for CoFs

  • Get familiar with the certificate of fitness (CoF) inspection process and the requirements that vehicles must meet to pass a CoF. Get to know the Vehicle inspection requirements manual (VIRM), which explains the requirements.

  • Make sure you identify any faults with your vehicle and fix them before you take the vehicle in for its CoF.

  • If you use a commercial maintenance and inspection service offered by a third party, make sure that your service provider is clear about your expectation that your vehicles will pass the CoF inspection first time, every time.

Read the Vehicle inspection requirements manual (VIRM)(external link)

Be ready for roadside inspections

  • Familiarise yourself with the types of faults that may be found at roadside inspections. These are outlined in the HMV categorisation of defects handbook.

  • Keep good records of your roadside inspection results so you can check the details of your proposed rating before it becomes final. Make sure that your drivers return their copy of the Commercial Vehicle Inspection Report (CVIR) form to you as soon as possible after a roadside inspection.

  • Sign up to receive an email each time one of your vehicles has a roadside inspection by sending your transport service licence (TSL) number and email address to Please note that this email service is not in real time.

Read the HMV categorisation of defects handbook [PDF, 1.4 MB]

Resolve problems early

  • If you have any concerns about the decisions made at your roadside or CoF inspection, you can discuss these with your CoF provider or local Police Commercial Vehicle Investigation Unit (CVIU) in the first instance, as early as possible. If you wait until you receive the six-monthly notification of your proposed rating, it may be too late to resolve the problem.

Read more about querying your results
Find out more about the Commercial Vehicle Investigation Unit (CVIU)(external link)

Get your TSL right

  • Make sure that the correct transport service licence (TSL) label is displayed in your vehicle at all times while you are operating it. Failure to display a TSL label is an offence.

  • Make sure that the correct TSL number is provided to the CoF inspector, preferably by way of a TSL label displayed in your vehicle. Make sure your TSL label is displayed whenever your vehicle is on the road, so that it can be identified if it's stopped at the roadside.

  • If you are the driver or mechanic of a vehicle with a trailer attached, you must ensure you have the correct TSL number for the trailer, as there is no TSL label attached to the trailer. This is particularly important when the trailer is operated under a different TSL from the prime mover, such as when a mechanic uses their own prime mover for taking a trailer for a CoF inspection.

More information about TSL labels
More about transport service licences


Get licensing right

  • Make sure that your drivers have the appropriate licence and endorsements for the vehicles they are driving.

  • Sign up to the Transport Organisation Register Online (TORO) so you can (with your drivers' permission) receive updates whenever their licence status changes, for example, if a licence or endorsement expires, or if the licence is suspended or disqualified. Email to sign up.

Find out more about TORO

Address problems straight away

Address any offending by your drivers as soon as you become aware of it. You can receive updates from TORO when a driver reaches either 50 or 100 demerit points, so you are aware that offending has been occurring.

Have good schedules and policies

  • Set achievable schedules and rosters, so that your drivers can stick to the speed limits and work-time requirements.

  • Ensure that your drivers understand the importance of speed limits, taking the required breaks and completing their logbooks correctly.

More information about work time and log book requirements

Driver training

  • Make sure your drivers have appropriate training for the type of driving they do.

  • Sign up to the Safe and Fuel Efficient Driving (SAFED) NZ programme, which promotes and teaches a safe and fuel-efficient driving style. The techniques learnt through SAFED NZ can improve driver safety, confidence and performance, and have a positive impact on your safety rating, as well as reducing fuel and maintenance costs.

Find out more about SAFED NZ(external link)