by Linda McGrory
ALMOST 600 ambulances failed roadworthiness tests
last year with seven ambulances having to be towed
away from the test centre, new figures show.
A total of 1,307 ambulances underwent the mandatory
Commercial Vehicle Roadworthiness Test (CVRT) in
Some 734 ambulances (56%) passed the test while 573
ambulances (44%) failed including seven that
received ‘failed-dangerous’ status.
The top fail items included roller brake tester;
headlamp aim equipment; mechanical brake components
and front suspension.
Some 518 ambulances were subsequently re-tested with
35 failing a second time.
Top failure items on the re-test included roller
brake testers and headlamp aim equipment. Safety
belts; rear lamps, registration plate lamps and
tachograph/speedometer faults also contributed to
visual fails on the re-test.
The figures were released by the Commercial Vehicle
Roadworthiness Reform section of the Road Safety
Authority. They show that a total of almost 476,000
CVRTs were carried out in 2015 on the commercial
fleet including lorries, 4x4s, buses, vans,
ambulances and motor homes.
A total of 254,242 passed the test (53.43%) compared
to a fail rate of 46.5% or 221,637 vehicles.
Almost 6,000 vehicles in the commercial fleet had to
be towed out of test centres after receiving
'failed-dangerous' stickers. The top failure items
included faulty brake lines/ hoses; mechanical brake
components; chassis/underbody and front suspension.
A breakdown of the statistics also show that 13,709
buses were tested in 2015. Of these, 7,069 (51.56%)
failed while 6,640 (48.44%) passed.
A total of 243 buses were deemed too dangerous to
drive out of the test centre.
The top failure items on buses were roller brake
testers; headlamp aim equipment; cab and bodywork;
tachograph/speedometer and mechanical brake
Of the 6,729 buses taken back for re-test, 6,000
passed. Of the 729 that failed the re-test, 16
received 'failed-dangerous' status.
The National Ambulance Service declined to comment
on the CVRT figures. However, two weeks ago, Health
Minister Leo Varadkar announced an 18 million euro
continuing investment in the ambulance fleet.
It will see 50 new ambulances and 35 refurbished
ambulances purchased under the HSE capital programme
this year. A further ten intermediate care vehicles
will also be provided.
"The introduction of over 150 vehicles in 2015 and
2016 is a real boost for the ambulance service,"
said Mr Varadkar.
“Replacing older vehicles will also help reduce
costs and improve reliability. Our ambulances and
crews cover enormous distances every year. It is
vital that we continue to invest in and upgrade our
fleet, so that our highly trained paramedics can
give the best service they can, when our patients
need it," added Mr Varadkar.