Statistics | Driving Environment | Driver Behaviour | Vehicles | Speed Limits | Traffic Signals | Road Signs | Road Markings | Kerb Markings | Roundabouts | Intersections | Pedestrian Crossings | Railway Crossings | Highways | City Driving | Rural Roads | Night Driving | Parking | Oddities
Table 2.2 - Road traffic accidents 1 and casualties, 2008- 2017, January - June 2018
1. Road traffic accidents:
|20,873||19,542||21,243||22,387||21,056 ||23,563 ||26,400 ||28,476||29,277||29,627||14,634|
Rate per 100,000 population
Rate per 1,000 registered motor vehicles
2. Motor vehicle involved:
Rate per 1,000 registered motor vehicles
Total number of casualties of which:
Rate per 100,000 population
Rate per 1,000 registered motor vehicles
Fatality index 2
|1 Exclude accidents involving bicycles only or bicycle and pedestrian.|
|2 Fatality index is the number of fatalities per 100 casualties.|
|4 Provisional Jan-Jun 2018|
|N/A: Not applicable|
Registered motor vehicles
Motorisation rate, (motor vehicles / 1,000 population)
Fatality rate, (deaths / 10,000 motor vehicles)
Fatality risk, (road deaths / 100,000 population)
Fatality quotient, (fatality rate x fatality risk)
Fatalities / 1,000 km road
Road length, km
Paved roads, %
Road density, (road length km / land area km 2 )
Vehicle density, (motor vehicles / km)
Population density, (population / km 2 )
For a developing country the motorisation rate is relatively high and rising rapidly each year, although only 45% of this is due to cars, with a similar number of small motorcycles. The annual numbers of fatalities over the last decade has now stopped rising, but the fatality rate remains higher than desirable. However, one of the effects of a rising motorisation rate is that it acts to nullify the fatality rate. In Mauritius 74% of road fatalities are pedestrians, cyclists, and motorcyclists.
Most of the towns are in a contiguous line forming a corridor from the centre of the island to the west coast. Many of the streets have no footpath, so pedestrians walk on the roads everywhere, and most roads are bounded by a deep storm drain, sometimes covered. Additionally, in residential areas beyond the storm drain there is a tall wall, resulting in 90° blind corners at every junction. The major crop is sugar cane; immediately preceding harvesting the leaves are burned resulting in dense smoke blowing across roads at times.
The island is typically hit by one or two tropical cyclones each summer, between December and March. These bring very high winds and heavy rain, both causing significant damage. As each cyclone approaches all driving may be prohibited for a day or two, and afterwards driving may be difficult due to fallen trees and other debris on the roads.Back to top
Many of the drivers are just impatient - they see a gap and go for it whether or not it is safe or sensible ! Most roads are narrow and overtaking is rarely safe anywhere, but drivers quickly become frustrated at any congestion so will force an overtake even where it isn't safe.
Mauritian drivers use their horn a lot. Don’t be surprised if someone horns before overtaking you.
Most of the main roads are quite narrow, being barely wide for buses to pass in each direction. The island is served by an extensive and very frequent daytime bus service, so there is forever a bus just ahead wherever you are driving, and the buses have a habit of stopping very frequently on the road because bus laybys are rare. Passing the bus is rarely a safe option, therefore you will be incessantly held up every time the bus stops. Beware of oncoming traffic which insists on passing a stopped bus, brake early to avoid a head-on crash.
Also beware of oncoming drivers swerving violently to their opposite side of the road to avoid the smallest of potholes. Road traffic policing is minimal, although the police are now using breathalysers and hand-held speed radar, but fines are also minimal.Back to top
Because of this the vehicle stock is a mixture: many newer cars, but a large number of used imports, and a sizeable proportion of older vehicles, many dating to the 1950s. Similarly, many buses are quite old, as are many of the lorries. Some older vehicles appear to be of questionable road-worthiness.
Mopeds and motorcycles account for almost half of all registered motor vehicles, most of these having small engines which are severely underpowered when climbing any hill. A significant proportion of mopeds and motorcycles have the handlebars shortened or angled backwards so they are no wider than the fuel tank to allow the rider to squeeze through narrow gaps in traffic. Many of these smaller mopeds also double as commercial vehicles, severely overloaded with goods of all types. Animal-drawn carts are now rare. During the sugar harvest, for about 8 months of the year, it is common to see an agricultural tractor hauling a triaxle trailer loaded with up to 30 tonnes of sugar cane, all braking done by the tractor only. Between the sugar factories and the export terminal 'B-double' trucks are commonly used, that is, a tractive unit hauling 2 semi-trailers.Back to top
There has been significant improvement in signage in recent years. Not long ago location of the speed limit signs was rather haphazard, typically a single sign at any random location in the centre of a village, or located where town boundaries formerly were 50 years previously. However, the author of this article gave a series of recommendations to the Mauritius Government and these have been acted upon. Mauritius now has an excellent speed limit signage system; all residential areas now have a limit of 40 km/h, and the highest limit is on some sections of the two motorways at 110 km/h.
The police now have several mobile speed cameras and hand held speed detectors, but it seems they need more.Back to top
Most signals are now the much brighter LED type, which can be seen better in bright daylight.
However, to cope with the occasional power cuts, many of the traffic signals also carry a stop sign or give way sign to show priority when the lights are off.
Many signals are switched off during evenings and at weekends, some show a flashing amber, but are usually all black. When the lights are off, obey the signs, slow down, give way, or stop.
Unfortunately it is becoming increasingly common for drivers to run a red light several seconds after the end of the green phase, and to jump a red light a couple of seconds before the start of the green phase. Red light cameras are not yet installed but are needed.Back to top
All regulatory, prohibitory, obligatory, hazard, directional, and advice signs are in the standard ISO (European) system, and all signs displaying numbers, e.g. speed limits, distances, parking time limits are all displayed in European digits. However, some ancient signs are still in use, following the UK pre-1965 system. Many older signs are hand painted so are not retroreflective, although these are generally being phased out. All worded signs are written in English, although many place names have French pronunciation.Back to top
Unfortunately, on a road with numerous zebra crossings, this means the zigzags are painted alternately between the crossings but not at the crossings. Stop lines are commonly painted in a gulley across the end of the minor road to allow rainwater to flow along the same line, so they are often impossible to see until the driver is close. White is used for all lane markings, except yellow is used for temporary markings and parking restrictions.Back to top
Some kerbs are painted alternately black/white, this is primarily for visual recognition near to junctions. Parking restrictions are painted with single or double yellow lines along the edge of the road.Back to top
Roundabouts on major routes are typically marked with give way lines on entry, however, some smaller roundabouts are marked with stop lines. Emerging traffic follows the normal convention of giving way to circulating traffic. Unusually, the circulating lanes are separated from each other by a continuous line between exits to prohibit lane-changing in the roundabout. Read more .Back to top
In rural areas the main crop is sugar cane, grown to use every last inch, so for much of the year sightlines can be non-existent in trying to see around corners where this tall crop is grown. However, significant improvement of sightlines has been observed at many junctions recently, compared to a decade ago.Back to top
Zebra crossings are common in towns. It is a legal requirement for drivers to allow pedestrians to cross, and it is prohibited to overtake, although many drivers don't comply with the law.Back to top
Mauritius is considering reinstating its previously dismantled railway line. Presently there are no active crossings, and any future designed crossings are likely to be to a high safety standard. Read more .Back to top
These are of varying standard, having a 110 km/h speed limit, but beware of a stopped bus that may move into lane 1 from a bus stop. The highways are used by all types of user, including bicycles and mopeds, and there are numerous minor crossings for all vehicles. Most major junctions are roundabouts, although a few now utilise flyovers.Back to top
Traffic is often constrained by the numerous buses stopping for passengers, with little opportunity to pass a stopped bus. Major and many minor junctions are controlled by traffic signals, and some may have 2 lanes in each direction. Most streets are narrow with tall walls to the edge of the road, so sightlines at junctions are commonly very poor. Most roads have very deep open storm drains along the edge, extending to the corner of the junction without any radius, take care not to drop a wheel into a storm drain.Back to top
Many have a pleasant series of bends, but depending upon the season, when the sugar cane is tall before harvesting sightlines are very poor at bends and junctions.Back to top
There are numerous hazards that are unlit at night: pedestrians walking along the roadside everywhere, numerous cyclists and motorcyclists without any lighting, and numerous vehicles with inoperative or insufficient lighting. There are no large wild animals here, but cattle sometimes roam loose on the rural roads, less and less over the last ten years.Back to top
Some on-street bays are marked where there is sufficient space to park, but it is much easier to find an off-street car park, for a small fee. Read more .Back to top
Something to watch out for …
Buses and lorries must be still equipped with a 1 foot square red flag, and all bus and lorry drivers undergoing their driving tests are still required by a 1954 regulation to signal left or right by waving their red flag from the driver's window. A few other bus and lorry drivers may also wave their red flag if their direction indicators are not working. If you see the red flag waved keep back, as the intended direction left or right is not easily determined by the waving of the flag.
This road sign is quite unique to Mauritius and is appearing more and more over the last 10 years. It seems that Mauritius is more productive than other countries where one would see "Men at work". Spelling mistakes are quite common and gives Mauritius its charm.
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