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Friday 24 March 2017

Inner workings of test centres to be put under the microscope

Treacy Hogan

OWNERS bringing their cars for a national car test (NCT) are supposed to have no idea who is going to look under the bonnet.

And, crucially, the tester shouldn't be able to tell which car they are going to inspect at any given time or date.

The cars presented at any of the 70 test centres are allocated to testers on a random basis by computer selection.

Just how someone can ensure that a certain tester will be testing a specific car, at a certain date and time, is expected to form a key element of the investigation.

Spanish multinational company Applus has carried out the NCT on the country's car fleet since January 2010.

It won the 10-year contract -- worth more than €400m -- from the Road Safety Authority (RSA) after a competitive tendering process.

The RSA uses two companies to monitor the performance of the NCT, PricewaterhouseCoopers and AA Ireland.

The former concentrates on corporate governance and systems oversight while the latter performs a mystery-shopper role and brings a car to different centres to check the results generated are correct.

All cars more than four years old must undergo a safety test every two years, and take the test every two years after.

From June 1, all cars older than 10 years will have to pass an annual test.

Up to April 30, some 381,609 tests had been carried out this year.

Irish Independent

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