Thousands of people are driving 'death mobiles' on our roads - putting their lives and those of others at serious risk, new figures reveal.
Some 6,000 owners submitted totally unroadworthy cars for an NCT in 2017. In these cases, the NCT staff advised them their cars should be towed, and not driven from the test centre.
The test centre staff also apply a special sticker to the windscreens of such vehicles, which indicates the dangerous condition in which it is in. Additionally, an NCT staff member will read out a formal statement to each such owner. It outlines the details of the car being unroadworthy.
Eddie Cunningham, motoring editor of the Irish Independent, says 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 ran to 5,903.
According to sources, he says 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 was an offence to drive such a vehicle. There was concern that so many people were driving vehicles in such condition, putting themselves and other road users at risk.
However, the NCT is a key part of the safety role played by constant testing.
The RSA spokesman added: "When the NCT was first introduced, more than four per cent 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 Irish Independent says 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, Eddie Cunningham’s research found the first-time pass rate for all cars tested at the time he wrote the article was much in line with last year (48 per cent first-time pass, 90.8 per cent re-test pass ). And a total of 1,283,199 cars were tested up to November 30.