Safety chiefs urged to overhaul NCT by bereaved mother

Paula Murphy's daughter Amanda died in a crash near Cobh, Co Cork, in 2012.

A mother whose daughter died while driving a defective car has pleaded with road safety chiefs to overhaul the NCT system.

Paula Murphy from Cork presented a petition — signed by 6,000 people supporting her calls for a raft of changes and improvements to the car test system — to the Road Safety Authority in Mayo yesterday. The RSA oversees the NCT system.

“I am doing this for my daughter Amanda. If nothing is done, if there are no changes, I fear that more people could die like Amanda,” said Ms Murphy.

Amanda died in a crash near Cobh, Co Cork, in 2012. It emerged at her inquest that gardaí later identified serious defects in her 4x4’s rear suspension which made it not roadworthy.

The suspension was leaking an excessive amount of oil which would have made the vehicle unstable before and during cornering. However, her car had passed its NCT just months earlier.

Experts say the defects could not have developed to the extent they did in the seven months between the NCT and the fatal crash, and that the problems should have been identified.

Ms Murphy believes Amanda would still be alive today if the defects had been picked up in the NCT. Since her daughter’s death, Ms Murphy has campaigned relentlessly to highlight her concerns about the NCT. “Amanda’s car should have been red-flagged during her NCT. I want to ensure that from now on, cars get checked properly and that there are improvements to the NCT. I’m doing all this in the hope that I can save another person’s life,” she said.

The Irish Examiner highlighted Ms Murphy’s campaign more than two years ago, which led to the release by the RSA of Amanda’s NCT details.

The data on the certificate helped forensic collision expert Liam Cotter conduct a detailed examination, which in turn led to an RTÉ Prime Time investigation last year.

Experts said that some cars can pass the NCT even though their shock absorbers could have the same defects which were identified in Amanda’s car.

The RSA did not respond to media queries yesterday. However, it has defended the NCT test and said it stands over the criteria and limits it applies to this element of the test.

The RSA has repeatedly insisted the Irish NCT is “highly sophisticated and probably the most sophisticated in the member states involved in the road safety strategy”.

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