24-hour opening for NCT centres

Two of the country’s busiest NCT test centres are opening on a 24-hour basis in a bid to tackle waiting lists of up to six-months in some locations and concerns one in every 10 vehicles is using an out-of-date safety cert.

Transport Minister Paschal Donohoe revealed the new measures during a Seanad debate on the issue, insisting action is being taking to calm the growing crisis in the sector.

The Fine Gael TD said last night “around-the-clock testing” will commence from today at the Little Island NCT centre in Co Cork.

A second 24-hour service will also be shared between Northpoint and Deansgrange in Dublin, while 20 more locations across the country will see their opening times extended.

The moves come after recent reports that car owners are being forced to wait up to six months for NCT tests because of a severe backlog in the system, caused in part by an upsurge in appointments since driving without an NCT cert became a penalty-point offence.

Since December 8, anyone caught driving without an NCT cert is given three penalty points and fined €60 each time they are stopped.

However, while people whose certs are out of date have attempted to book times to have their vehicles re-checked, a large number are unable to obtain a slot within four weeks of the request, putting them at risk of fines and leaving question marks over the safety of cars on the road.

Mr Donohoe said last night “well over 90% [of people] get their tests carried out eventually”.

However, he added “the Road Safety Authority estimates over 200,000 cars out of a national fleet of around 1.9m have an out-of-date NCT cert at any time” — a figure which equates to one out of every 10 cars.

Anyone driving a car more than 10 years old is obliged to ensure it undergoes an annual NCT test, with cars four to 10 years old having to be tested every two years.


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