independent

Saturday 19 April 2014

5,000 'death trap' cars towed from NCT centres last year

BAD LUCK
A car being towed (image posed)

AROUND 5,000 'death trap' cars were found to be so dangerous they had to be towed away from an NCT test centre last year.

Each of the owners were advised not to drive the vehicles until they were repaired and had been passed as being roadworthy. In each case a statement was read out to them by an NCT expert outlining why the vehicle was potentially lethal.

Most had their vehicles towed to a garage for repairs. However, a small number of owners disregarded the warning and advice.

When such 'fail dangerous' cars are discovered at test centres it is standard practice that they have a special sticker put on the windscreen and the owners are formally advised of the high risk of driving them.

While 5,000 may seem like a relatively small number in the context of the 1.7 million cars tested each year, it is a large quantity of potential death traps to be travelling on the country's roads.

Such cars may have:

* Major leaks of brake fluid due to seriously corroded lines or hoses.

* Bodywork so seriously corroded that the vehicle is structurally dangerous.

* Fuel hoses leaking onto the engine or dripping onto the ground, which could start a fire.

* Tyres that were bald, unevenly worn or bulging.

* Doors so badly out of kilter they could not be properly closed.

The number of such death traps shows no sign of abating as around 5,000 are uncovered on an annual basis.

The majority of the vehicles were aged 10 years or older -- but three vehicles with 09 registrations were discovered to have potentially lethal faults.

The NCT costs €55 with a retest costing €28 if use of equipment is required.

There is concern there may be an increase in the number of dangerous vehicles on the roads in the coming years as more owners hold on to older cars because they can't afford to upgrade to a newer one.

A spokeswoman for the NCT said owners of such dangerous cars are usually "absolutely astonished" when informed of the risk of driving the vehicles.

She added that the cars not only pose a threat to those in them but also to those they meet on the road.

And she confirmed that due to so many older cars being on the road, and fewer new ones being bought, they have taken on 120 extra staff bringing the total number to 600 and representing a 20pc increase since they took over the contract in 2010.

Irish Independent

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