Science & Technology in Action


Since January 2000 all cars four years and older in Ireland must undergo a test called the National Car Test [NCT]. This test was introduced to improve road safety, to reduce harmful emissions and to comply with the EU Directive 96/96/EC which makes car testing compulsory in all EU member states.

Following a competitive tender process, the SGS Group was awarded the contract to operate and manage the car testing service in Ireland. NCTS now operates 43 Test Centres throughout the country. The SGS Group is the largest inspection, testing and verification company in the world.

Although this lesson has been about braking, the NCTS tests all physical aspects of car safety: wheels, tyres, lights, steering, electrical systems, mirrors, fuel systems etc. The standards for exhaust emissions for both petrol and diesel engines are designed to minimise the harmful effects of atmospheric pollution. The NCTS employs about 450 people in vehicle inspection, customer service, technical and administrative roles.

Find out more about the NCTS and car testing at

You can also find out more about the SGS Group at