Cookstown MOT centre has the worst pass rate in Northern Ireland, according to the latest figures released by the Department of Environment.
Over the past year, more than one in five cars attending the Cookstown DVA centre failed the test, with a lowest pass rate of just 76.8 percent recorded in November 2014.
The next lowest pass rate was 77.7% in the Armagh test centre, while Belfast had the highest pass rate at 85.8%.
The average pass rate across Northern Ireland stood at 80.8% with 234,832 tests conducted in the final quarter of last year.
Month by month, Cookstown’s figures are consistently the lowest in the North, suggesting either that motorists are regularly taking cars in poorer condition to the centre, or that test measures or more stringent here.
Out of a total 15,416 tests conducted in Cookstown in the final three months of 2014, a total of 3,391 failed.
Cookstown’s figures are consistently the lowest in the North, suggesting either that motorists are regularly taking cars in poorer condition to the centre, or that test measures or more stringent here
Although the figures show that Cookstown is regularly top of the MOT failures table, the local pass rate has improved from a low of 73% in 2007, which at the time was consistent with other test centres in Northern Ireland. SDLP MLA Patsy McGlone has said he fully understands the need for stringent checks in relation to vehicle and mechanical safety but has questioned why the local failure figure is so high.
With regards to variations in MOT pass rates, the Minister of Environment has stated: “It should be noted that fail rates can change over time for a variety of reasons.
“For example, there may be changes in the composition of the stock of vehicles being presented for tests eg a test centre where the proportion of heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) being presented for testing has increased is likely to see a reduction in the overall pass rate.”
Stormont politicians have proposed moving to a privatised MOT system for Northern Ireland which critics say has led to people being ripped off in Great Britain, where garages carry out the safety tests.
However, a major UK motoring group is urging the rest of the UK to consider moving in the other direction and to copy Northern Ireland’s independent testing system.