Arrangements for the timing of car tests under the new national car test were notified in regulations and announcements made by my Department in December 1998. These involve both the establishment of a two-yearly testing cycle for cars over four years old and the spreading of the test dates among vehicles designated for testing in a particular year. The latter requirement is being achieved by approximating the test due date to the anniversary of the first registration of a vehicle. Car owners have also, however, been given the flexi bility of arranging for a test date up to 60 days prior to the due date.
The Society for the Irish Motor Industry – SIMI – made representations to my Department in February 2000 that testing should be permitted even in advance of these arrangements so as to facilitate trading of second-hand cars. My Department met the SIMI to hear its case following which a written proposal was received from the SIMI on 25 February. The SIMI proposal would have considerable implications for the organisation and management of the national car test, including possible additional costs for the contractor and the public. My Department is, therefore, consulting with the National Car Testing Service Ltd.
In completing its assessment, my Department will have to consider whether the changes proposed, which would have to be made available on an unrestricted basis, would in overall terms produce benefits outweighing costs. The potential for innovative commercial responses by the motor industry to present arrangements, such as vehicle test guarantees already provided in some countries, must also be borne in mind. My Department expects to be in a position shortly to revert to the SIMI on this matter.