Useful Facts about Vehicle Tests

Dangerously defective vehicles

Where a vehicle is identified as being dangerously defective during a test, the CVR test will place a “Fail Dangerous” sticker on the vehicle or goods trailer – this will publicly expose the vehicle as a dangerously defective vehicle.

In the event that a Road Safety Authority authorised officer is present at the testing centre when a vehicle is issued with a “Fail Dangerous” sticker, he/she will be entitled under the law to issue a direction to the driver/owner of the vehicle requiring that the vehicle be repaired and tested before being driven away from the testing centre. In addition, it is intended that, if present at the testing centre, an authorised officer will also be entitled to detain, immobilise, remove and dispose of a dangerously vehicle if the vehicle is likely to be used on a public road.

Operators should be aware that it would be an offence under Section 54 of the Road Traffic Act 1961 for a person to drive a vehicle in a public place while there is a defect affecting the vehicle which he/she knows is such that the vehicle, when in motion, is a danger to the public.

Testing of vehicles that have been temporarily off the road

All commercial vehicles which are used on public roads are required to be tested once a year.  This is the legal obligation throughout the EU.  There are no exceptions for vehicles which are temporarily off the road. This applies also in the case of the NCT.

Vehicles which are off the road can degrade and deteriorate during the period while they are off the road.  So it is just as important that they are tested. For example, key test items such as tyres / brake hoses may perish and mechanical brake components such as brake lines, brake reservoirs / air tanks, brake chambers and callipers may seize and / or corrode.   Therefore it is essential that these and similar components are inspected / tested even where the vehicle has been off the road.  

Instances where a tester may refuse to carry out a test

This may happen if the tester forms the opinion that any part of the vehicle or its equipment would make it unsafe to carry out the test OR if the load on the vehicle is not adequately secured or is in such condition that it would not be safe to carry out the test the tester may refuse to carry out a CVR test on a vehicle OR if the vehicle has been presented in such a condition that the tester cannot access parts of the vehicle to fully carry out the test.  The RSA will be informed and any fee will be returned. 

The tester may also refuse to carry out the test if the test fee has not been paid. 

Resubmitting vehicles for a repeat test

An authorised officer may request that a vehicle be resubmitted for a repeat test immediately on a random basis or if he/she has concerns about the manner of the test carried out on the vehicle. While inconvenience will be minimised to the greatest possible extent, the overall objective of a repeat inspection is to be assured that the test has been undertaken correctly.

On rare occasions, you may also be contacted by the RSA if there is reason to suspect a recent test may not have been conducted properly.  In such occasions, a repeat test may be required which may be done under the supervision of an RSA authorised officer.

Where a vehicle can be retested

A vehicle must be retested at the same Commercial Vehicle Test Centre ​where the original test was completed. If you choose to use an alternative testing centre, for any reason, a full test will be carried out at the second testing centre.

If you are dissatisfied with the result of a test

You must submit a complaint in writing to the test centre where the vehicle was tested. The complaint shall state the following:

  • your name, address and contact details; 
  • the vehicle registration number and the date the vehicle was tested; and
  • your complaint

You should receive a written acknowledgement of the receipt of your complaint from the test centre within three working days of the receipt of the complaint. You should receive a response to your complaint within 14 working days. 

Download our leaflet on RSA Commitment to Customer Service as regards CVR Testing (PDF)​

Voluntary Tests

Voluntary tests are available at all CVR testing centres. A voluntary test is a roadworthiness test, other than a CVR test, carried out on one or more test items. Therefore no CRW is issued as a result of a voluntary test, no levy is payable on these tests and they do not affect a vehicle’s test due date. 

As well as CVR vehicles, a voluntary test can also be carried out on vehicles owned by the Gardai or Defence Forces. 

There are two different types of voluntary tests available at CVR testing centres, and both will improve your risk rating for Roadworthiness.  

  • Partial Voluntary Test - A Partial Voluntary Test can be customized depending on what items you want tested on your vehicle. You can decide, with your CVR testing centre, to have just one item or area of your vehicle tested or you can request that all items are tested (a full CVR test). So for example if you just wanted to have your brakes tests then you would choose this type of voluntary test. Also if you wanted your vehicle to undergo a full CVR test, then you would choose this test also and request your CVR testing centre to test all items.
  • Voluntary Safety Test -  A Voluntary Safety Test on the other hand includes a pre-defined list of safety critical items to be tested.

Different voluntary test options may suit different operators depending on what maintenance regimes or types of facilities operators have in-house and either voluntary test  can be used as a supplementary test in between your annual CVR test. Voluntary testing may be particularly useful for those operators who do not have their own in-house testing equipment and facilities available. For example Operators without a pit or a brake tester may choose to avail of voluntary tests.  

If you own or use a commercial vehicle, you are responsible for having a proper preventative maintenance regime​ in place as well as being responsible for the roadworthiness condition of the vehicle. Voluntary testing in between annual statutory tests is considered good practice and helps to identify any defects that may need to be rectified. Ideally, you should schedule preventative maintenance at specific intervals so that you can identify a problem before it becomes a concern.

Enforcement tests

An enforcement test (legally called a partial CVR test) is conducted when a vehicle is presented to a CVR testing centre on foot of a direction given by an RSA authorised officer. This test may include one or more test items and may include all test items applicable to that vehicle. Details of the test items to be tested will be listed on the copy of the roadside check inspection report as supplied to the driver of the vehicle and all specified items will be tested. An enforcement test may be conducted on any CVR vehicle including vehicles that are registered outside of the State.​​ Enforcement tests help assess whether a vehicle meets basic requirements at the time of the test taking into account that only items that are visible and accessible are tested

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