The company running Ireland’s NCT testing is “falling further behind” as huge backlogs continue to grow.
New figures show there are now 375,000 vehicles on Irish roads without a valid NCT certificate.
NCT operator Applus Automotive will today tell the Oireachtas that the backlog is down to a range of issues – including no-shows, failed tests and serious recruitment issues.
Transport expert Conor Faughnan told The Pat Kenny Show the problem is only going to get worse in the coming months.
“They have a huge backlog and they don’t have the capacity to get through it so every week that goes by, they are falling further behind,” he said.
“The total number in the queue at the moment is 375,000 – a big, big number. When I last looked at this in November, it was 360,000 so it is worsening.
“By way of context, they will do nearly two million tests in a year … so, the backlog is around about six months, there or there abouts.”
Applus Country Manager Mark Synnott will tell the Oireachtas today that 3,500 people per week are not showing up to their tests.
Some 2,500 are not showing up at all, while a further 1,000 are cancelling just before the test – leaving no time to organise a replacement.
Mr Faughnan said you can still drive your car if your cert is out of date – provided you have applied for your test.
“Since the pandemic, if you don’t have a valid NCT cert because your cert has expired, but you have applied and you are in the queue, neither the Gardaí nor the insurance company will take note of the fact,” he said.
“So, you are good to go.”
He said that rule was brought in during the pandemic when the backlog began to ‘develop very seriously’.
He said another law change may need to be brought in to deal with drivers who had to wait a long time to get a test and find themselves needing another one almost immediately after passing.
Currently, NCT due dates are based on the date the car was originally registered rather than the date of the previous test.
It means if your car passes but your test was delayed your cert may only be valid for a short period.
“What it means is, when you have a backlog, you get this sort of concertina effect,” he said.
“Ultimately, we may need some post-pandemic corrective legislation or something, I don’t know, there may be some imaginative fix – but the source of the problem is the backlog.
“You know, solve the backlog and the other problems will wash out.”