Drug testing on the roads : Roadside checks in Mauritius

Expat news
  • The Visual Explorer
Published on 2022-07-01 at 09:29
Only two weeks before drug testing on the roads becomes a reality in Mauritius. Here's what the new drug tests mean for motorists. Expat.com also takes a look at other regulations governing Mauritian roads.

Alcohol, speeding and now drugs and narcotics… In recent years, the laws have been amended to be stricter than ever on Mauritian roads. While road checks are common on the island, drivers will soon have to undergo, not only to the breathalyzer, but also,  drugs and narcotics testing when out and about.

Indeed, amendments were made to the law earlier this month to allow for these. Two categories of drugs have been identified. First, heroin, cocaine, cannabis, ecstasy, LSD and synthetic drugs which are banned. And secondly, thresholds will be imposed on drivers' levels of certain prescription drugs.

These are: no more than 50 micrograms of clonazepham per liter of blood, no more than 300 miligrams for flunitrazepam, 550 micrograms for diazepam, 100 micrograms for lorazepam, 500 micrograms for methadone, 80 micrograms for morphine and 300 micrograms for oxazepam.

About 40 police officers have been trained and will be able to perform these tests and others are being trained everyday. The Forensic Science Laboratory will conduct further testing for positive results and this data will be admissible in court as evidence.

A driver who tests positive for drugs can be fined up to Rs 75,000 and imprisoned for up to eight years.

Routine testing

Blood alcohol tests are the most frequent tests on the island, especially on highways. If a policeman suspects that a driver is under the influence of alcohol, he will initially test his faculties, for example, standing straight or walking in a straight line. If these are not conclusive, he will be subjected to the breathalyzer.

Blood alcohol levels and fines

The legal blood alcohol limit in Mauritius is 20 milligrams of alcohol per 100 ml of blood, 27 milligrams of alcohol per 100 ml of urine and 9 micrograms of alcohol per 100 ml of breath. On first conviction, a motorist is liable to a fine of at least Rs 20,000 and up to Rs 50,000. He risks imprisonment for a maximum of 5 years and disqualification of his driving license for a minimum period of 12 months. 

For subsequent convictions, a driver is liable to a fine of not less than Rs 50,000 and not more than Rs 75,000 and to imprisonment for between 12 months and 8 years. The motorist is also liable to a cancellation of their driver's license and a disqualification for a minimum period of 24 months.

Speed limits

Speed limits were revised in February. On the freeway, the limit is 110 km/h for cars and 80 km/h for two-wheelers. Elsewhere, it varies from 30 to 80 km/h depending on the region and the type of vehicle. These new measures are part of the global road safety campaign led by the United Nations (UN).

Fines have also been increased for speeding. For a breach not exceeding 15 km/h, the fine is Rs 500; for speeding more than 15 km/h but not exceeding 25 km/h, the fine is Rs 5,000; and for speeding more than 25 km/h, the fine is Rs 10,000.

Other offenses

Other regulations to be wary of: a police officer catches you with a child under the age of 10 in the front seat of your vehicle, the fine is Rs 2,000. As for the fine for not wearing a seat belt, it is also Rs 2,000.

You have been warned!