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According to the Road Safety Authority (RSA), the National Car Test (NCT) is a preventative road-safety measure that ensures vehicles, particularly older ones, are in working order.
‘Road Collision Facts 2012’, published by the Road Safety Authority and based on statistics provided by the Gardai, shows that drivers are the cause of 86% of fatal road collisions, and that roads, the environment and cars are the cause of 3%.
However, in 2013 1,170,899 cars were tested, with a failure rate of 51.9%. The number one cause of NCT failure was faulty front suspension, followed closely by damaged tyres and lights.
According to mechanics, ramps damage suspension, tyres and lights. There are ramps dictating 10 to 25 km/h speeds on most two-way 50 km/h roads used for driver testing.
On roads where the ramps are illegal or above the height allowed, these roads are not used for driver testing and one such example is Saint Canice’s Road, in Dublin.
The Transport Minister, Paschal Donohoe, announced special measures, including round-the-clock testing, to tackle a surge in NCT numbers, following changes to the penalty-points system. Meanwhile, the AA is calling for the Government to tackle peak periods of NCT demand.The insurance companies will receive 30% extra in premiums from drivers with penalty points, and car owners will have to spend more money on car repairs and car replacements due to suspension damage from ramps.
The Department of the Environment installs the ramps, but the Department of Transport cannot advise the Department of the Environment while 86% of fatalities are caused by drivers.
If drivers are the cause of 86% of fatal accidents, then 24-hour car-testing may not be the solution.
And car testing, improved driver training, the setting of speed limits and the installation of ramps must, in future, come under the one government department in the interests of road safety.
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