More than 37,000 cars that underwent the NCT last year were deemed unsafe for the road, new figures show.
The just-released data shows that a total of 37,191 (2.8%) vehicles presented for the test posed a “direct or immediate risk to road safety”.
This compares to just over 5,000 the previous year.
The hugely inflated figure cannot, however, be compared to previous years, because a greater number of defects now classify as dangerous under new EU rules introduced last summer. These include defective tyres and brakes.
The new directive also, for the first time, categorises dangerous defects under three headings minor, major and dangerous.
It is illegal to drive a vehicle with a dangerous defect and motorists may incur penalty points and a court appearance if caught by An Garda Síochána, NCT operator Applus has warned.
Meanwhile, 1,343,794 vehicles went through test centres countrywide between January and December 2018.
A total of 661,743 (49.2%) passed with 644,860 (48%) failing the test.
This is the first time since 2012 that more cars passed than failed.
Last year’s results also show that 680,764 vehicles underwent a re-test with 624,679 (91.8%) passing the second time around.
Some 54,418 (8%) failed again while 1,667 (0.2%) vehicles were still too dangerous to drive out of the test centre.
Cars tested last year were 2014, 2012, 2010, 2008 and older models.
A Road Safety Authority spokesperson said: “Following the new EU Directive 2014/45/EU, since 13 August 2018, there are a greater number of defects now classified as fail dangerous, for example defective tyres and brake issues.
In response to the positive reversal of the pass/fail rate for the first time in six years, the spokesperson said the average age of the domestic fleet is now under eight years old compared to 2012 when recession-hit families were presenting fewer and older cars for testing.