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600 ambulances fail road tests last year 26.02.16

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 2015.
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 components.
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.
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