Vehicle history expert Cartell.ie has called on the Government to introduce legislation for the proper regulation of vehicle write-offs.

At present there are approximately 36,000 vehicles written-off in Ireland every year.

About 12,000 of those are never returned to the roads due to the extent of the damage incurred.

However, approximately 24,000 are returned to the fleet every year, and this increases the number of written-off vehicles in the Irish fleet.

There are over 200,000 write-offs in the Irish fleet at any time, and every year approximately 3,000 are designated as write-offs for the second time in their life cycle - some will even be written-off three or more times.

Cartell estimates that at least six deaths occur per annum in vehicles which were previously written-off.

The National Car Test (NCT) is not designed to detect structural defects in a vehicle.

Cartell says a new testing procedure, regulated by Government, for write-offs is urgently needed, and should be implemented without delay.

Such a system of regulation, it says, should unify the definitions for vehicle write-offs in Ireland, using the ABI (Association of British Insurers) category system, which is as follows:

The ABI Total Loss Categories (Write-Off)
Category A: Scrap only - The vehicle has not been repaired following extreme damage. It was deemed too damaged to be repairable with little or no salvageable parts.

Category B: The bodyshell should have been crushed. The vehicle has not been repaired following significant damage. It was deemed too damaged to be repairable, but it did have salvageable parts.

Category C: This vehicle was repairable, but the repair costs exceeded the vehicle value. The insurer chose not to repair for economic reasons.

Category D: This vehicle was repairable, but the repair costs were significant compared to the vehicle value. The insurer chose not to repair for economic reasons.

The Government, Cartell says, should also prevent serious write-offs (category A or category B) from returning to the road - by obligating insurers to notify the Government of all write-offs.