Thursday, 17 February 2005
Department of Transport
National Car Test
Question 110: To ask the Minister for Transport the details of the independent appeals system for the national car test; if this mechanism places a financial charge on motorists; if not, the body which meets the cost of this mechanism; the number of motorists who have availed of this system to date; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5473/05]
Since car testing commenced on 4 January 2000, the national car testing service, or NCTS, has had in place arrangements to handle complaints and appeals from customers on every aspect of the service. The NCTS is also required to achieve a composite customer satisfaction rating of at least 80% in annual customer satisfaction surveys. In addition, the NCTS has agreed to an independent appeals system to enhance transparency and provide additional assurances about customer service and the integrity of the test. The system has been operational in the greater Dublin area on a pilot basis for some months. The independent assessment of appeals is carried out by the Automobile Association and five appeals have been made to date. It is a matter for NCTS customers to initiate the process. However, a customer must have exhausted the internal complaints and appeals procedure operated by NCTS before making an appeal to the Automobile Association.
The system will be implemented for NCT test centres throughout the country. Implementation is on a non-statutory basis in the first instance and will be kept under regular review as to its operations and effectiveness. As part of the pilot stage an appeal was not subject to a fee. However, because of the potential costs of a countrywide system, customers who invoke the independent appeals system will be required to pay to the Automobile Association an appeal fee equivalent to the fee for a first test. Where the appeal is granted, the fee will be refunded to the appellant.
Question 111: To ask the Minister for Transport if the NCT certificate of roadworthiness can be backdated to cover the period of time a car was held in a garage; the way in which a car will be certified accordingly for a period prior to testing; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5479/05]
In accordance with Directive 96/96/EC, a passenger car becomes liable for the national car test when it is four years old — that is on its fourth anniversary of first registration — and is liable for a further test every two years thereafter. In accordance with this schedule, where a car is tested other than at the specified time, the test certificate is valid from the date of the test until the next date on which the test is due. The test certificate reflects the condition of the vehicle at the time the test was carried out. Consequently, it is not possible to issue a test certificate with an effective start date other than the date of execution of the successful test.