Six-year-old cars face yearly test
OWNERS of cars more than six years old face having to put their vehicles through the NCT every year under proposed new rules.
The EU Commission wants cars to be subjected to an annual test, instead of every two years as at present, to help reduce fatal road collisions.
It also wants motorbikes and scooters to be brought into the testing regime.
Cars in Ireland are required to be tested, at a cost of €50, once they are four years old, and then every two years. Cars 10 years or older must get an annual check, but vehicles registered before 1980 are exempt.
Figures from the Central Statistics Office show that in 2006, some 173,000 new cars were registered, most of which are still on the road.
Under the proposed testing regime, a car would be tested after four years, would have its next test two years later and then be tested every year.
"If you're driving a car which is not fit to be on the road, you're a danger to yourself and to everyone else in your car -- your family, your friends," EU Transport Commissioner Siim Kallas said yesterday.
"It's not complicated; we don't want these potentially lethal cars on our roads."
He claimed the proposals would help save more than 1,200 lives a year across the EU and avert more than 36,000 accidents linked to technical failure in vehicles.
However, Road Safety Authority (RSA) figures show that dangerously defective vehicles are a contributory factor in just 0.4pc of collisions here.
In 2010, a dangerous vehicle was involved in one fatal accident and 14 collisions resulting in injuries, the Road Collision Factbook says.
The NCT has been in place in Ireland since 2000, and more than 800,000 vehicles a year take the test, which identifies defects such as faulty brakes, suspension and rusty bodywork.
The move to introduce a more stringent regime was welcomed by the Society of the Irish Motor Industry (SIMI), which said it would help improve road safety.
"Research would show that testing of most commercial vehicles and cars have contributed to a reduction in fatalities and injuries," director general Alan Nolan said.
Ford Ireland said there was a "dangerous tendency" among motorists to avoid making sure their car was safe.
"We don't have a strong culture of vehicle maintenance in this country," spokesman David O'Driscoll said.
The Department of Transport said it would give "detailed consideration" to the proposal which must be approved by EU states and the European Parliament before becoming law.