THE cars in the best mechanical condition in Ireland are in the southwest Kerry area.
That's according to the ' Transport Omnibus' report for 2011 published by the Central Statistics Office (CSO), which examines the motoring and travel habits of Irish people.
According to the report, 70.3 per cent of cars that underwent the National Car Test (NCT) in Cahersiveen passed first time – that's 1,597 from a grand total of 2,271 tested.
Cahersiveen's success rate compares very favourably with Clifden's lowly initial pass rate of just 40.4 per cent and the national average pass rate of 50.6 per cent. Kerry's other NCT centres also fared better than average, with Killarney achieving a 56 per cent pass rate while Tralee managed 59 per cent.
There were 91,485 driving licences held by Kerry drivers last year, of which 8,141 were learner permits. The largest number of full driving licence holders in the county were held by people aged 30 to 39-yearsold, while the largest category of learner permits are in 17 to 20-years-old age bracket. Interestingly, there were eight people aged 80-years or over driving on learner permits in Kerry in 2011.
Playing the percentages in an effort to undergo a driving test in as quickly as possible a time seems a fruitless exercise in Kerry as both Killarney and Tralee Driving Test Centres had similar waiting times, with both recording eight-week waits last year.
In Killarney, there has been a significant improvement in waiting times, falling from a 12week wait in three years ago to its current status. Tralee has had consistent waiting times for tests in recent years – eight weeks in 2009, 2010 and 2011, down from ten weeks in 2008.
The most common road traffic offence committed by Kerry drivers, resulting in the issuing of penalty points, was speeding with 4,634 penalty points issued. Next most common penalty point offence was driving while holding a mobile phone with 402; failure to obey traffic lights, 39, failure to wear a safety belt with 25 and driving without reasonable consideration, 19.
The number of people killed on Kerry's roads has continued to fall, from 14 in 2007, 19 in 2008, 12 in 2009, to 11 in 2010. The number of people injured has also decreased, from 394 in 2007 to 254 in 2010.
Private cars in Kerry travel, on average, slightly more than the national average, with 64,668 vehicles travelling 1.121 billion kms for an average of 17,336 kms in 2011, compared with the national average of 17,227kms.
Goods vehicles (234) in Kerry travelled 234 million kms for an average of 18,622 kms; motorcycles (1,003), three million kms for an average of 3,111 kms; tractors (3,952), 68 million kms, for an average of 17,305kms, while small Public Service Vehicles (550), including taxis and hackneys, travelled 19 million kms for an average of 35,404.