Driver testers expressed concern that they would be at risk due to the RSA rule allowing cars without NCT to be used in tests

DRIVER testers raised concerns they would be put at risk after the Road Safety Authority (RSA) changed rules to allow cars without a valid NCT to be used during a driving test.

The RSA temporarily eased rules on the requirement to have a current NCT because motorists were experiencing lengthy delays in scheduling appointments to have their cars checked.

However, a union representing driver testers said the proposed changes posed a “serious health and safety issue” for its members.

In an email last October, they said they needed much more detail on what was planned, saying “the priority has to be the health and safety of the testers.”

In later correspondence with the RSA in November, a representative from Fórsa said they remained concerned about the “potential risk” to driver testers from non-NCT cars.

A letter reads: “Fórsa advises our driver tester members to adhere to the RSA protocol, which requires all vehicles presented for a driving test to have a valid NCT disk.

“[RSA circulars set] highlight the position on the need for a valid NCT data carrier. This is a serious health and safety issue for Fórsa and our Fórsa driver tester members.”

In response, the RSA said the union can be assured that the “health and safety” of employees is a “key factor” in any decision-making process.

An updated internal risk register says the changes were made due to significant delays for motorists in obtaining an NCT test.

It said they had been told by An Garda that they would not penalize drivers who do not have a current valid NCT card, while Insurance Ireland is also taking this “pragmatic and understanding approach”.

The RSA said they would adjust the same position but only cover cars where the NCT was less than three months out of date.

The risk registry said the likelihood of a car not being roadworthy at the time of a test is “unknown” anyway, depending on when the NCT took place.

The risk register states: “For a vehicle with a valid NCT disc, which may be approaching its expiry date, this means that the main inspection was carried out almost a year or two ago, so a risk factor for the roadworthiness of the vehicle is and is still present unknown at time of testing.”

It said staff could still rely on visual inspections of the vehicle before testing to assess signs of malfunctions, including suspension failures, fumes in the cabin, power outage or other obvious problems.

“If a deficiency is found, the test will not continue,” said the risk register. It said testers could also check the NCT app to make sure the three-month window hadn’t expired.

However, the risk register concluded that the proposed changes leave a ‘moderate’ risk of injury in a traffic accident.

In correspondence with Fórsa, the RSA also pledged to do everything in its power to reduce NCT wait times.

Said: “[We] continue to have weekly calls [the NCT provider] to ensure our services do not lose momentum to get back up to agreed service levels.”

A spokesman for the traffic safety agency said motorists are responsible for ensuring that their car is always in roadworthy condition while driving.

He said: “At the start of a driving test, all candidates must formally certify as part of their insurance declaration that their vehicle is in roadworthy condition before the driving test can begin.

“Driver examiners also do visual checks before the driving test to check lights, turn signals, brake lights, etc. The policy only allows for an NCT certificate that has expired within three months of the date of the driving test and the candidate must provide proof of an upcoming NCT trial date.” Driver testers expressed concern that they would be at risk due to the RSA rule allowing cars without NCT to be used in tests

Fry Electronics Team

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