Huge surge in the number of UK 'write-offs' being sold to Irish motorists
Safety fears rise
THE number of cars that were written off in the UK before being imported here has dramatically increased this year.
They have shot up by nearly 1,000 - to 3,442 - in the first five months and now account for one-in-10 of all used imports, new figures show.
Last year numbers brought in by the end of May came to 2,561 (9.1pc of all used imports), while 2,122 (or 6.9pc of the total) were imported during the corresponding period in 2014.
The new figures were compiled exclusively for the Independent Motors by car history website MyWheels.ie.
The steady upward increase detailed by MyWheels.ie will add to concerns that our slack regulations are allowing vehicles to be sold here that could fail road-worthiness tests elsewhere.
Write-offs fall into several categories. They range from:
* Cars involved in crashes so serious that, at best, they required major repairs before being officially deemed roadworthy, to
* Cars so severely damaged they should never, ever, be allowed back on the road.
Legislation to deal with write-offs has been on the cards for some time but has never been activated.
It aims to make it compulsory for a write-off to be recorded on the National Vehicle and Driver File (NVDF). That would alert authorities and buyers and ensure the vehicle can't be used again.
However, a Department of Transport spokesman has previously told Independent Motors there are "legal complexities".
He said the legislation could only be brought in following legal advice and careful examination of "how robust and effective any measures introduced would be".
But if the numbers continue to increase as these latest figures suggest, the problem is likely to come to a head sooner rather than later and force Transport Minister Shane Ross to speed up the introduction of the measures.
Niall Kavanagh of MyWheels.ie says we need to move now before a write-off is linked to a road death.
"The end goal is the same for everyone here: to put in place a process to ensure write-offs in other countries are never brought into Ireland and registered here."
He adds: "We need to be proactive and bring in the changes needed and not reactive when a fatality is linked to one of these vehicles."
Mr Kavanagh adds: "The fact that a write-off can pass an NCT test just highlights how important it is for everyone thinking of buying a used car to check its history. This is even more important when considering a car that was imported into Ireland."
According to Mywheels.ie data, examples of complete UK write-offs - cars that should have been crushed - now in Ireland include the following: * a 2013 Volvo S80, * 2011 Seat Leon, * 2010 Nissan Qashqai, * 2013 Ford Galaxy, and * a 2012 Vauxhall Astra.