NCT and driver theory test centres to reopen from Monday
Driver testing in cars will not yet resume due to the requirements of social distancing
The driving test centre in Finglas. Car driving tests will not restart yet due to challenges around social distancing. Photograph: Alan Betson
National car test (NCT) centres are to begin reopening from Monday, along with the National Driver Licence Service and Driver Theory Test facilities.
Motorists whose car test was affected by the failure of lifts in testing centres earlier this year are to be given priority for testing.
The gradual resumption of the NCT will begin with the opening of 15 NCT centres across the State. The reopening of more centres will be announced in the coming weeks and updates will be posted on ncts.ie.
All 43 theory test centres will reopen from Monday and people can book their tests online. The opening of the Driver Licence Services will allow those who have passed the theory test to apply for a learner permit. It will also enable people to apply for a replacement licence that may have been lost or stolen.
However, the Driver Testing Service is not reopening yet. Minister for Transport Shane Ross said while he saw see the possibility of lorry, bus and motorcycle testing resuming soon, there were issues to overcome to restart car driving tests. “These challenges include maintaining social distancing as a car driving test means close contact in an enclosed space between the driver tester and the learner driver for periods in excess of 15 minutes.
“I can assure learner drivers that officials in my department and the Road Safety Authority are looking at all available options to get car driving tests started again as soon as possible,” he said.
The reopening of full services will take place on a phased basis and car owners will remain subject to Government regulations on travel and social distancing.
Motorists are advised to check relevant websites for updates on NCT centres opening in their area. No walk-in appointments will be accommodated.
All services must be paid for with credit/debit cards. No cash will be taken.
Commercial vehicle roadworthiness testing resumed on May 18th.
Mr Ross said social distancing should always be maintained and anyone wishing to use the services remained subject to the Government’s current restrictions on travel. From Monday, people can travel 20km from home or anywhere within their county, whichever is the greater distance.
As the validity of various certificates and licences relating to these services was extended on March 28th for up to four months, demand for these services has been reduced in the short term, but motorists are advised to make appointments in a timely fashion.
Mr Ross said he was “acutely aware that some people do need to avail of these services now”.
“For example, there are vehicle owners who were affected by the vehicle lift issue at the NCTS and who need to complete their test. These customers and anyone else who has been unable to complete their full vehicle inspection are to be prioritised,” he said.