RSA: Motorists waiting for NCT 'don't have to take first appointment'
The Road Safety Authority (RSA) has moved to allay fears over a perceived logjam of NCT slots, saying motorists should not take the first date available if it doesn't suit them.
Motorists are concerned they could get on-the-spot penalty points because their NCT certs are out of date as they wait for a test date due to huge demand.
However, the RSA, which has overall responsibility for the NCT service, said drivers should not have to wait more than four weeks to get a test date.
It also said motorists should not take the first available test date if it doesn't suit them. A number of motorists who contacted the Irish Independent said they have been given dates as late as July - putting their NCT up to three months out of date. They are worried they could get three penalty points as the test slot is well outside the expiry dates of their certificates.
Demand is so great that some test centres in Dublin and Cork are now operating 24 hours a day, while others are open seven days a week, many for 17 hours a day.
But the RSA said drivers still shouldn't necessarily take the first date given on the NCTS website. If they can't get a suitable date, they should follow the advice on the website and submit a request for a booking online or contact the call centre directly on 01-4135992.
A spokesman revealed: "The availability of appointments on the NCTS website is not a reflection of the total number of slots available to customers."
A number of slots are kept in reserve to make sure the system isn't flooded by people trying to book months in advance of their normal date.
"At present, the vast majority of customers receive an appointment within 28 days of their initial application," he said.
He added the average waiting time for an NCT is currently at three-and-a-half weeks nationwide and gardaí will take a common-sense approach to enforcement, so long as owners carry proof of a test appointment.