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NCT delays are making 'an ass of the law', apparently

Have you had trouble getting an appointment?

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LABOUR SENATOR JOHN Whelan has sharply criticised the backlog in securing an NCT test.

Whelan said the “undue” delays are “causing widespread confusion and anxiety for motorists”.

The Senator added that he supported calls for “common sense” to be used regarding the new penalty points regime which could see motorists receive up to five points for not having an up-to-date NCT certificate.

“All vehicles must be safe, roadworthy and fully compliant with NCT standards. However, where law-abiding motorists do their utmost to comply with the law, they should be given every opportunity to do so and not be unfairly penalised.”

Whelan said he has been “inundated” with concerns by motorists who are “despite applying for their NCT test well in advance of the scheduled due date, are now being offered test slots as far away as March and April”.

This unforeseen scenario is making an ass of the law and may also have other far-reaching consequences in terms of insurance cover and liability.

He stated that “documented proof that you have applied for an NCT test” should be “sufficient evidence that you are compliant on an interim basis”.

“This sensible approach would also bring clarity and consistency to the discretion which individual gardaí can apply.”


A spokesperson for the Road Safety Authority (RSA) said that gardaí have been advised to take “a common sense approach to enforcement” as it at their discretion to “decide if it is appropriate to issue a fixed charge notice, particularly in cases where some time has elapsed since the last NCT expired”.

He added that the RSA took ”took steps to ensure that customers were aware of the changes to penalty points well in advance of the change”.

A significant national and local radio advertising campaign was run in early October and November advising vehicle owners to book in early for test.

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The spokesperson told TheJournal.ie that the introduction of the fixed charge offence seems to be encouraging people “to abide by the law”.

The evidence so far is that people who were previously overdue their tests are now seeking tests. For instance, 12% of the tests in December were more than 6 months overdue the test. It is good news for road safety that more cars are having their roadworthiness test earlier.

In the last three months of 2014 approximately 56,000 more cars were tested than in the same period the previous year, an increase of 26%.

The spokesperson said that customers requesting usually get one “on average, within three weeks”, while retest appointments are “on average, booked within six days”.

“Additional vehicle inspectors have been deployed since the beginning of January, which will enable more owners to have their vehicles tested on time, over the peak period, than has been the case in the past.

“Customers are asked to be patient at this busy time and all will be accommodated as soon as possible,” they added.

Here’s everything you can get penalty points for from today

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About the author:

Órla Ryan

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