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Press Releases for 2003

McDaid announces full implementation of the National Car Test
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11 September 2003

Dr. James McDaid, T.D., Minister of State at the Department of Transport today (11 September 2003) announced changes to the National Car Test (NCT) from Monday next, 15 September.

"The "fail advisory" status of certain reasons for failure of the NCT will now cease. From Monday next, a car failing the test for any reason will have to be repaired, and a retest passed, before a NCT certificate can issue for the vehicle", the Minister said.

This change is the final step in the phased implementation of the NCT and follows on from the making of a number of the original "fail advisory" test items reasons for refusal of a test certificate in January 2002. 

"The scope of the test itself and the way in which it is carried out are not changing in any way.  The net effect from Monday next will be that the advisory status of certain defects will change so that owners will have to rectify them before their NCT certificates can be issued." the Minister emphasised.

The principal test items which will change from "fail advisory" to "fail refusal" on 15 September are headlight alignment, the performance of shock absorbers, side slip, type approval markings on windscreens and a number of visual checks including a check that vehicle registration plates conform to the statutory requirements.  A full list of the test items involved are in the Appendix.   

The move to make failure on any test item a reason for refusal of a test certificate has the support of the Society of the Irish Motor Industry (SIMI).  In preparing for this change the Department of Transport, the National Car Testing Service (NCTS) and SIMI have worked closely together to ensure a smooth transition to full implementation of the NCT. 

The Minister said, "since testing commenced in 2000 high failure rates for misaligned headlights have been consistently recorded in line with the experience internationally.  Defective headlights are a serious road safety issue which must be confronted once and for all.  Persons driving vehicles with misaligned headlights are not just a danger to themselves but are putting at risk the safety of all other road users.  These dangers include dazzling oncoming drivers and inadequate side vision to see pedestrians on unlit roads."

"Over the past year my Department, NCTS and SIMI have worked together on a number of initiatives with a view to introducing best practice in headlight alignment.  Given this level of co-operation, Im satisfied that the higher failure rates that will be experienced with full implementation of the NCT will be a short term phenomenon that will reduce progressively as the impact of the improved headlight alignment practices take effect".  The Minister pointed out that in anticipation of this change, letters issued to car owners by the NCTS since 19 August have included, in a prominent position, reference to misaligned headlights becoming a reason for refusal of a test certificate.

"Im confident that this final phase of the implementation of the NCT will have a positive outcome in terms of vehicle roadworthiness.  Safer vehicles are an integral part of the Governments Road Safety Strategy.  However, only if they are used safely and responsibly will accidents be reduced and lives saved on our roads," the Minister concluded.



  • registration plates not conforming to legal requirements
  • service brake pedal worn or pedal pad worn or missing
  • defective hand brake mechanism
  • defective horn
  • windscreen wipers and washers missing or defective
  • glass not conforming to legal requirements
  • rear view mirror(s) missing or damaged
  • defective doors/locks/anti-theft devices
  • front and rear wheel alignment (side slip)
  • imbalance in shock absorbers
  • towing bracket/coupling loose or worn
  • registration plate lamps not  working
  • defective side lamps
  • misaligned headlamp aim
  • condition of auxiliary lamps such as to not meet the legal requirements
  • misaligned auxiliary lamps


All the reasons for refusal of a test certificate are set out in the Road Traffic (National Car Test) Regulations 2003 (S.I. No. 405 of 2003).