Probe into claims death-trap cars pass NCT after bribes
Published 17/05/2011 | 05:00
Applus, the company that runs the National Car Testing service is to launch an investigation into dramatic revelations about bribes to pass defective cars, made in last night’s Prime Time Investigates programme.
The RTE show revealed how two taxis, deemed dangerous and unfit by experts and initially failed in the NCT, were passed after the payment of €100 per car.
In a statement this morning, Applus said it would vigorously investigate the matter until all issues raised by the programme, in relation to vehicle inspections, had been fully addressed. It had also reported the matter to the gardai.
Road Safety Authority chief executive, Noel Brett, who oversees the NCT service, said he had raised his concerns with the gardai and would be discussing the matter with Applus.
John Usher of the National Taxi Drivers' Federation said the Prime Time programme was the first real evidence of such illegal activity and he hoped it would begin a process of rectifying such problems."We have rules and regulations there but you can't legislate for what happens at the backdoor of the NCT," he claimed.
Mr Usher said it was now vital that the "backdoor" way around the system was closed and he would be pushing for meeting to ensure that happened. He also complained that there wasn't enough enforcement officers to stamp out this sort of activity.
The National Car Testing service (NCT) has asked RTE to hand over any information it has about alleged wrongdoing over the testing of taxis.
This followed claims made on RTE's 'Prime Time' programme last night that a number of unroadworthy taxis passed the NCT test after cash was handed over to individuals.
Double-jobbing drivers working 23 hours a day, dangerous vehicles, unvetted drivers with criminal records, and ways to pass an NCT in an unroadworthy car, were uncovered by the 'Prime Time Investigates' team.
The programme exposed how taxis could be rented for a weekend for as little as €100 by drivers who didn't have the necessary PSV licences and garda vetting.
Some drivers had serious criminal pasts, the programme claimed.
It also said two vehicles bought by the RTE team were deemed unroadworthy by experts but passed the NCT tests days later when €200 was paid over to certain people.
One driver found by RTE was double jobbing, driving a taxi at night after driving a double-decker bus all day.
On one weekend alone, he started at 5am and drove until 4pm or 5pm in the afternoon, when he finished his bus shift. He then took half-an-hour off before driving the taxi.
He finished at 4.45am the following day, meaning he was driving for around 23 hours.