Enforcing the National Car Test in Ireland
5th August 2015

The National Car Test (NCT) is a preventative road safety and environmental protection measure that ensures vehicles, particularly older vehicles, using Irish roads are in sound working order. Passenger vehicles require their first NCT on the 4th anniversary of their registration date. Following this, the NCT is required every two years until the vehicle is 10 years old. Once the vehicle reaches ten years old, an NCT is required every year.

It has been an offence since 2000 to use a vehicle on public roads without a valid test certificate. Since 2009 this was a 'straight-to-court' offence which attracted 5 penalty points on conviction. This offence was brought within the Fixed Charge Payment System on 8 December 2014, so that persons have the option of paying €60 and receiving 3 penalty points on payment of the Fixed Charge rather than automatically being required to go to court.

The Garda Automatic Number Plate Recognition System (ANPR) can now scan traffic for cars with no NCT. Owners with vehicles overdue the test would be well advised to get them tested as soon as possible. Overdue vehicles will not be a priority for NCTS at busy times. Tests may be booked at www.ncts.ie or at 01 4135992.

A minority of drivers in Ireland are using vehicles that may be dangerously defective, for example, with poor brakes, worn suspension, worn tyres, or poor lighting. It is estimated that at any time up to 250,000 vehicles are being used without a valid NCT. The introduction of the fixed charge offence, and the use of ANPR is to encourage these car owners to abide by the law.

There is a facility available at www.ncts.ie to check when your vehicle is due for test.

It's never been so important to make sure your NCT is valid. You can get your NCT up to three months early, without it affecting your next due date. The first few months of next year will be extremely busy with circa 50% of cars due for testing due in the first 3 months. Those due in January, February and March are advised to come in early in October, November and December when it is easier to get an appointment and to avoid the bottleneck.

Voluntary Early Testing was introduced in July last year. It allows vehicles to be presented for test at any time more than 90 days in advance of the test due date. The certificate issued will be valid for 1 or 2 years from the date of the successful test and future test dates will be reset to the anniversary / bi-annual of the test. This could be very useful to business to plan testing at a time that suits their needs.

When presenting your vehicle for the test you must take your Driving Licence (or Passport) as a form of identification to prevent fraud, otherwise the NCTS may not be able to carry out the test.

For organisations, this makes grey fleet management particularly important, with databases required to capture NCT due dates to allow compliance checks and timely alerts to drivers.

At Interactive Driving Systems we facilitate this via the Driver Details Questionnaire module in Virtual Risk Manager. Please contact us for more information or to trial the module.

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