Tuesday 21 January 2020

More than 92,000 cars found to be dangerously defective

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Seán McCárthaigh

One in every 15 cars submitted for the National Car Test (NCT) last year was found to be dangerously defective and unsafe to be driven on public roads.

Figures published by the Road Safety Authority (RSA) show more than 92,000 vehicles examined at an NCT test centre during 2019 were found to be in an unroadworthy condition.

A total of 92,523 cars were classified as "fail dangerous".

They represent 6.6pc of the almost 1.4 million cars tested at 47 NCT centres nationwide last year.

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Although the vast majority subsequently obtained an NCT, a total of 2,791 vehicles were still found to be dangerously defective following a re-test.

According to the RSA, tyres in poor condition and problems with brakes are the main reasons why cars are deemed dangerous to drive on public roads.

An RSA spokesperson said the large number of cars being classified as "fail dangerous" was not surprising.

As a result of the implementation of an EU directive on roadworthiness tests on motor vehicles since 2018, all defects are now classified as either minor, major or dangerous.

"Many motorists are still unaware about the change in classification and there is a need to educate car owners that there are some problems which will have their vehicle deemed unsafe to drive on public roads and that they need to take the issue seriously," the spokesperson said.

A recent survey by the RSA indicated 40pc of all car owners used the NCT as a diagnostic tool for problems with their vehicles, which the RSA claims explains the higher failure rate for the initial test.

"People need to stop using the NCT to identify problems with their car. They should be getting it serviced regularly by a mechanic as it is a much more detailed examination. The NCT can never be a substitute for a full service," said the RSA spokesperson.

Neither the RSA nor Applus, the operator of the NCT, collects information on the number of people who still drive away from NCT centres in an unroadworthy vehicle instead of arranging to have their car towed away.

The RSA spokesperson said anyone who continued to drive a vehicle after it was deemed dangerously defective was "irresponsible".

Any motorist whose vehicle is classified as "fail dangerous" is advised that it is unsafe to be used on the road "under any circumstances".

A sticker stating "failed dangerous" is placed on such vehicles by NCT inspectors at the end of a test.

Irish Independent

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