While speed cameras will be switched on again only in the month of September, the new strategy to enforce laws on our roads will be put into action as from tomorrow. No more double-penalty system. No more bulky Driving License Counterpart (DLC). No more hidden speed cameras. Instead a new system to sanction drivers committing serious road offenses and a new Traffic Enforcement Squad of 40 traffic motorcycle officers to be deployed over the island.
What has changed?
It is good to know that no new laws or regulations have been introduced. Instead, the authorities have come forward with a new system whereby the driver is penalized if he / she commits serious offenses repeatedly over a period of time. Henceforth, the driver’s license will be suspended when he commits 6 offenses listed in the First Schedule de la Road Traffic (Amendment) Act 2015 within a period of 24 months.
These serious offenses are as follows :
- Using a motor vehicle as a bus, contract bus, taxi or contract car without a public service licence
- Failing to wear securely a prescribed protective helmet while riding a motorcycle or an autocycle`
- Carrying a load insecurely fastened and falling or liable to fall, from a vehicle or projecting from the vehicle
- Failing to comply with traffic sign while driving by crossing a continuous white line on a road
- Failing to comply with traffic sign while driving by not conforming to the requirements of a traffic light
- Using a hand-held microphone or telephone handset whilst driving
- Exceeding speed limit by more than 15 but not more than 25 km/hr
- Exceeding speed limit by more than 25 km/hr
- Failing to allow free and uninterrupted passage to a pedestrian using a crossing
- Overtaking or passing a vehicle which has stopped at a pedestrian crossing
- Failing to wear a seat belt while driving a motor vehicle
Source : Newspaper – Weekend ( Sunday, 26th July 2015)
Suspension of the driving permit
The first driving permit suspension can last up to 6 to 12 months, after which the driver will need to go through a rehabilitation course to get back his permit. However, if the driver is not at his first driving license suspension and again commits 6 serious offenses within 3 years of the previous suspension, his driving permit will be cancelled. The latter will need to go for a driving test and the rehabilitation course again.
Speed limits and fine reviewed
No more fluctuating speed limits on the motorway. According to the new system, the speed along the motorway will either be 110km/hr or 80km/hr except in Port Louis where the limit remains 60km/hr.
As for fines, there are now three categories :
- Exceeding speed limit less than 15 km/hr – Rs 1000
- Exceeding speed limit by more than 15 km/hr but less than 25 km/hr – Rs 1500
- Exceeding speed limit by more than 25 km / hr – Rs 2500
Drivers should not forget that they are eligible for the serious offenses when they exceed the speed limit by over 15km/hr.
Fixed speed cameras
As mentioned earlier, the fixed speed cameras will be back into operation in the month of September. During the past months, the authorities have been trying different techniques to enhance the visibility of these fixed speed cameras on our roads. While some speed cameras have been removed (for example, on Phoenix-Beau Songes Link Road), the other speed cameras have been painted in yellow and reflective bands installed on them. This reminds me that I need to update my map of speed cameras in the island!
Road markings have also been reviewed. As I reported a couple of months back, white lines across the road now warn drivers when they approach fixed speed cameras. The size of these while lines have been enlarged to make their presence even more striking.
Mobile speed cameras
As for mobile speed cameras, 6 of them will also back on our roads tomorrow and another set of 6 units will be soon put into operation. As far as I know, the police need to make sure that they place or use existing traffic signs warning people of mobile speed cameras. These traffic warnings are legally important because from what I read, drivers need to be informed that cameras will be used to shoot pictures.
However, the use of hand-held radars do not need any warning signs.
When it is comes to road safety, there’s nothing more important than preventing road accidents and any further deaths. Over 80 people have already lost their lives in road accidents for this year 2015 and this number is greater than the number of deaths registered last year. Despite there are only 11 serious offenses categorized in the new system, nothing has been said about other areas of concern, for example, the regulation regarding electric scooters or more visible motorcycles license plate numbers. Also, nothing concrete has been made to educate and prevent people on the hazards of crossing the motorway or the importance of courtesy when driving on our roads.
There’s a lot more to be done to improve road safety in Mauritius but let’s hope that these new set of measures / regulations bring a change on our roads and more importantly, less fatal road accidents.