A man from Co Clare whose Toyota Land Cruiser was 364 days out of test when he presented it for a Certificate of Road Worthiness (CRW), was given a certificate of renewal valid for only 24 hours, the High Court heard.
Michael Duffy’s commercial jeep passed the test on February 20 this year but the new CRW was valid for only one day. It meant the CRW would run out the next day, Saturday, February 21, 2015, Mr Justice Seamus Noonan said yesterday in a reserved judgment.
Mr Duffy had asked the High Court for a declaration that the vehicle testing regulations, as changed in 2013 in accordance with a European directive, was incorrect in respect of his 00-registered jeep. He had also sought a declaration he was entitled to a CRW for a period of 12 months from February 20, 2015.
Judge Noonan said the amended regulations applied to commercial vehicle roadworthiness and laid out the test due dates as on the first and each subsequent anniversary of its initial registration which, in Mr Duffy’s case, was February 21, 2000.
Prior to the commencement of the amended regulations, commercial vehicles undergoing a test were issued with a CRW for of 12 months from the test date.
Judge Noon said that although in theory the regulations required testing in consecutive 12-month periods, a vehicle owner, who delayed in presenting the vehicle for testing for say three months after the expiry of the previous CRW, could effectively gain an extra three months.
“Of course if the vehicle was being used in a public place during that three months the owner would be committing an offence,” the judge said.
At no stage of the hearing of a legal challenge by Mr Duffy against the one-day validity of his CRW was it suggested he had illegally used his vehicle in a public place while it was out of test.
Judge Noonan said the Road Safety Authority considered that gain anomaly in the regulations gave rise to a level of invidious discrimination against compliant commercial vehicle owners. He said the amended regulations had been brought into effect to address this apparent unfairness by resetting the test due date by reference to the anniversary of the vehicle’s first registration. The clear purpose of the measure was to eliminate any perceived advantage in disobeying the law.
The judge said there had been significant periods when Mr Duffy’s vehicle had been out of test and he had told the court he only discovered the true position about the amended 2013 Regulations when he attempted to tax his vehicle in June 2014.
When, on February 20, at which time it was 364 days unlawfully without a valid CRW, the vehicle had passed the test, he had been issued with a certificate valid only until the following day.
Judge Noonan said Mr Duffy had argued he had not been aware of the passage of the new regulations but ignorance of the law could not avail the applicant. He dismissed the challenge.
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