375,000 cars on Irish roads without an NCT certificate

There were an estimated 375,000 cars on Irish roads without a valid certification of roadworthiness last month.

It has been reported that the Road Safety Authority (RSA) is in negotiations with NCT operator Applus over the potential imposition of fines.

When asked by Independent.ie if fines are being levied, the RSA would not discus specific details, as the contract with Applus is commercially sensitive.

“However, it does contain clauses relating to the application of service credits, where service levels in the contract are not being met,” the spokeswoman told Independent.ie.

She added that the RSA has “leveraged the mechanisms” within the contract and the matter is currently under discussion.

Meanwhile Applus says it has recruited 24 vehicle inspectors so far in 2023, and that recruitment is still ongoing. The firm also says began night-time testing in its Northpoint Test Centre in Dublin, in a bid to clear backlogs.

The company is reported as saying that it expects a significant improvement in service delivery in the second quarter of this year – and a full return to normal service levels at the start of the third quarter.

Free NCTs offered to 2,100 motorists so far this year

Free NCT tests have been offered to around 2,100 motorists so far this year, following delays due to a massive backlog.

Under a customer charter, a driver can qualify for a free test if they are not offered an appointment within 28 days of seeking a test.

However, NCT operator Applus says this is only if the test is overdue by more than seven days at the time of contact, of if an appointment was offered seven days or more before the test due date.

The company is also reported as saying that a free test will also not be offered if the vehicle owner has made specific requests for suitable days, times or dates, has failed to attend an appointment, declined or rearranged two or more appointments, or previously accepted or requested an appointment outside the 28-day period.

The charter rules were relaxed during lockdown, but were reinstated last October.