OVER 200,000 motorists are driving cars without valid NCT certs due to a major backlog in testing.
Drivers face €60 on-the-spot fines and penalty points from next month if they fail to produce a current NCT.
However, the delay in testing is reportedly so great that it's estimated over 200,000 vehicles have no valid cert.
The Road Safety Authority (RSA) said that some of the country's 47 NCT centres have an online waiting list of up to three months.
RSA communications manager Brian Farrell said that in many cases, through no fault of their own, motorists are driving cars without valid certs.
And Mr Farrell said that there will be even more pressure on NCT testing centres from early December as gardai ramp up checks on the country's roads.
"Car owners need to be aware that because of the high level of demand at the start of the year, together with the introduction of three fixed penalty points for non-compliance in early December, it will not be possible to get tests at short notice at the start of the year," he told the Irish Examiner.
All cars over 10-years-old must undergo annual testing at NCT centres. Cars between four and 10-years-old must get tested every two years.
Meanwhile, it was revealed that staff at National Car Test (NCT) centres across the country are set to share a windfall of around €500,000 in a proposed productivity deal.
This follows the Labour Court recommending that 440 workers receive lump sums from the NCT operator, Applus+ ranging from €500 to €2,000 as part of the productivity scheme.
According to a SIPTU spokesman, the proposed deal will result in NCT workers dealing with 14 NCTs in compact centres and 16 NCTs in high volume centres per shift.
However, he said that the Labour Court recommendation has yet to be voted on by members and he hoped that the vote would take place in December.
The SIPTU spokesman said that workers voted down a Labour Relations Commission (LRC) proposal on productivity during the summer on a margin of 69pc to 31pc.
The lower payment is for formal recognition of the scheme while staff who will have terms and conditions changed would be in line for a greater amount.
The Labour Relations Commission (LRC) stated that the productivity scheme has been operating successfully for the past 12 months at NCT centres.
In the LRC document, the company stated that if would give a 2pc pay increase in January if the proposals were accepted and that if it was rejected, the proposal would be withdrawn.