Wednesday 16 January 2019

Thousands of cars deemed too dangerous for the road

Unroadworthy cars are putting lives at risk on our roads
Unroadworthy cars are putting lives at risk on our roads
Eddie Cunningham

Eddie Cunningham

Thousands of people are driving 'death mobiles' on our roads - putting their lives and those of others at serious risk, new figures reveal.

They show that 6,000 owners turned up for their NCT this year with cars that were so unroadworthy that test centre staff advised them to have the vehicles towed, rather than driven, away.

As a sign of the gravity attached to such discoveries, the vehicles also had a special sticker put on their windscreens in order to indicate their perilous status.

An NCT official read out a formal statement to each owner, detailing why and how their car was dangerous and unroadworthy.

The figures for 'fail dangerous' vehicles remain stubbornly consistent year after year.

Those for 2014, for example, came to 4,800. The total up to early December this year ran to 5,903.

Why are people risking lives in such fashion? According to sources, the frightening thing is that the vast majority of owners are completely shocked at the news of how unsafe their car is, and immediately agree to have it towed away.

However, a minority ignore warnings and drive off.

Car testing is overseen by the Road Safety Authority and when contacted by the Irish Independent, a spokesman said: "The vehicles were considered to constitute a direct and immediate risk to road safety and should not be used on the road under any circumstances."

He added that it is an offence to drive such a vehicle.

There is concern that so many people are driving vehicles in such condition, putting themselves and other road users at risk.

However, the fact they are being picked up is seen as part of the key safety role played by constant testing.

The RSA spokesman added: "When the NCT was first introduced, more than 4pc of vehicles failed with a dangerous defect.

"Since then there has been a phenomenal increase in the number, and age, of cars on our roads.

"In today's terms, that would be 60,000 dangerously defective vehicles on our roads if we didn't have the NCT."

The increase in detections is attributable to higher volumes of older cars being tested more regularly (every year for those aged 10 and over).

The main reasons for 'fail dangerous' verdicts included:

Impossible to close doors properly because they were badly out of alignment with the body of the car;

Fuel hoses so badly frayed they could have started a fire if petrol dripped onto hot areas of the engine;

Bodywork was so seriously corroded that the car was structurally dangerous;

Unevenly worn, bulging or bald tyres.

Meanwhile, the first-time pass rate for all cars tested so far this year is much in line with last (48pc first-time pass, 90.8pc re-test pass).

A total of 1,283,199 cars were tested up to November 30.

Irish Independent

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