independent

Saturday 19 April 2014

Tinted windows targeted in NCT crackdown on boy racer gangs

Boy racers will have to throttle back on car modifications under new rules for the National Car Test (NCT) .

Measures cracking down on dangerous tinted windows and exhaust manipulation are being introduced to the NCT this year as part of a national crack down.

And vehicles that do not have a visible 'E' mark on their tyres will also fail the test.

Under changes to be introduced to the NCT in April, vehicles will be required to have a level of noise no greater than 99 decibels, and glass in the windscreen and front side windows will also be subjected to tests.

Cars that do not pass the tests will be deemed un-roadworthy. Under the changes vehicles that are more than 10-years-old will, from June 2012, have to undergo an annual test.

Transport Minister Noel Dempsey says the new test items will improve the safety of vehicles on our roads, both for the vehicle owners and for other road users.

"This is another incremental step in our road-safety agenda, to make our roads safer and to save lives and prevent injuries."

Starting this month Applus+ has taken over the provision of the National Car Testing Service until 2019.

There are now 46 NCT centres employing 550 people throughout the country.

Another two centres are due to be opened this year, one in Carndonagh on the Inishowen peninsula in Donegal and one at Greenhills in Tallaght, Dublin.

From April 1, vehicles will fail to pass the test if their tyres do not have the certified international regulation 'E' mark.

The changes related to tinted windows were prompted by safety concerns, because studies have identified that night driving with tinted windows presents a disproportionate risk, compared with daytime driving.

Experts have raised the issue of threshold contrast -- drivers' ability to detect low-contrast objects such as cyclists and pedestrians, particularly at night time.

Criticism has been aimed at window tinting for increasing the risk of bike users and walkers being struck by cars in conditions of poor visibility, especially at night.

Last week, Gay Byrne, chairman of the Road Safety Authority, revealed the country had managed to achieve the lowest number of road deaths since records began in 1959. A total of 241 people lost their lives on the country's roads in 2009.

He pointed out that the five-year road-safety strategy, which had originally targeted a reduction to 252 deaths a year by 2012, had been achieved three years ahead of schedule.

One of the worst years in the last decade was 2005 which recorded 397 deaths. The figure recorded for last year was 279.

Sunday Independent

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