Nearly 33,000 'death-trap' cars brought for their NCT this year were in such bad condition they should not have been on the road under any circumstances.
Shocking figures under new NCT classification rules show 32,907 - or 2.6pc of the 1,273,869 first-time tested to the end of November - fell into the potentially lethal 'dangerous fault' category.
According to the NCTS, this means the cars constituted "an immediate risk to road safety". In other words, they were potential death traps for their occupants and other road users.
When discovered, NCT staff not alone told owners of their vehicles' dangerous status there and then, and the failure highlighted on the test report handed to them. A 'failed dangerous' sticker was physically attached to the car.
There were examples in previous years of drivers having such vehicles towed to a garage rather than risk driving another metre. Feedback suggests many were not aware of the dangerous condition of their cars. Such vehicles have to return for re-inspection and pass before an NCT certificate is issued.
Figures for 'failed dangerous' vehicles in 2018 cannot be compared with those from 2017 because new EU rules have changed what elements are included.
The new regulations classify results as minor, major or dangerous fault. They appear in that format on the NCT vehicle inspection report. 'Minor fault' means the vehicle has passed the test but you must bring it back for re-inspection after relatively small repairs to get the NCT cert. Major or dangerous defects mean the car has failed the test. You get 30 days to get repairs carried out or face a new full test and fee.
The fee for a full test is €55; a re-test costs €28. Re-tests which don't require test equipment are free - as in the case of visual inspection.
Finally, cars get 'dangerous fault' verdicts if they go through the NCT with tyres below the legal tread depth, for example, or with badly worn brake discs.
As it is illegal to drive with a dangerous defect you also risk penalty points and a court appearance if stopped by a garda.