What does Constat à l’amiable mean? Driving and Accidents in Mauritius

When it comes to driving in Mauritius, various informations, laws, theories and facts seem to come gradually over the years as you gain more and more experience. Whether you just got your driving licence, or moved to Mauritius you will definitely have some questions to what you must abide to when you drive here and some questions will pop up when its hopefully not to late! In this article I will address what is a “Constat à l’amiable” (something I was pondering upon and about which I posted here on Google+) and a few other points on which I will extend with an introduction of some general information that is good to know of!

Constat a lamiable in Mauritius

Constat a lamiable in Mauritius

Like any other country, Mauritius has a set of laws to which car drivers must abide and respect. Even if the island appears exotic and a bit laid back, there is no leniency when it comes to rules and they will be applied and not looked over. You should definitely NOT try to bribe a policeman!
Therefore car drivers that do not respect the law are not acts for you to imitate or follow. I’m mentioning this for the case that if you are new to Mauritius and think you need to follow a certain driving style – just be careful! Yes, many drivers will still overtake a bus even though there is a white line for example. It doesn’t mean you should do that…
Stick to the rules. Sooner or later they will get caught and pay heavy fines. Speeding alone can cost you around Rs.2000. Considering that its only a small moment of excess speed pressing on the accelerator – those fines can definitely hurt your monthly budget and you will receive demerit points!

I can confirm that the amount of information that I learned in driving school several years ago doesn’t come close to what I have learned after. Of course driving experience comes over the years but to some extent doing a driving test is not just knowing road signs and driving around some blocks in Port-Louis and waving your hand to turn left or right.
Since my test dates back a while I cannot currently confirm what is the state of driving schools and how tests are performed. If you recently did your driving test please share with us your experience.
It would be great if driving schools are aligned to a set standard to which they must comply. By the way this article is also open for input and suggestions, feel free to drop details in the comments section at the bottom of this article.

The government is constantly working on making more rules with a strict guideline and using various ways of enforcing them. If you look 10 years back and compare to now, a lot has changed and still the path is long for reducing the number of accidents in Mauritius. One thing very noticeable are the speed cameras. And a lot of new roads have also been built. At many difficult spots traffic lights have been placed.

When you drive in Mauritius here is a list of items you MUST have in your car with you at ALL TIMES:
1. Your original driving licence (And when you drive also have your ID Card with you)
2. On the wind shield your insurance and road tax must show (sticked to the windshield)
3. Your Points Sheet (now also part of the driving licence)
4. Fitness sheet
5. Fire Extinguisher
6. Yellow Chalk (For accidents to mark your position on the road)
7. Agreed Statement of Facts Sheet (This is the constat à l’amiable document supplied to you by the insurance company)
8. Emergency Warning Triangle (I have it standard in my car)
9. First Aid Kit (I have standard in my car-cannot confirm if its compulsory)
Anything else that should be on this list you want to recommend?

And here is another list of things that you must pay attention to when you drive:
1. All passengers must wear seat belts. It is the drivers responsibility to check and if the police catches a passenger not wearing a seat belt it will be the drivers fault.
2. No smoking when carrying passengers
3. If a person wants to get out of the car the driver must first check if there is no traffic or obstruction. If an accident is caused it will be the drivers fault.
4. No use of mobile phone while driving. Neither blue tooth devices.
Ofcourse there are many other items of information that you as a driver need to be aware of which are for example that you shouldn’t drive when having consumed alcohol etc.
Anything else that should be on this list you want to recommend?

What does constat à l’amiable mean in the mauritian context when you have been involved in a road accident?
A constat à l’amiable is french which means in english: agreed statement of facts on motor vehicle accident. See link to PDF file of the scanned document supplied by the insurance company.
Constat a l’amiable.PDF

It is by the way a document that needs to be filled in by both parties of an accident where both are in agreement of that statement of facts that led to the accident.
The form has 2 copies. When you fill in one copy, it will directly copy the details on the form below it. Both parties must fill in their details and each party keeps one copy which they send to their insurance company who will then settle out the rest.

As mentioned in the scanned form you cannot use a constat à l’amiable for the following situations:

  • more than 2 vehicles are involved in the accident;
  • the driver of the other vehicel does not agree with you on how the accident happened;
  • the driver appears to be under the influence of alcohol or drugs;
  • there are casualties (fatal, serious or slight injuries);
  • there is damage to structure and property other than the vehicles (e.g. traffic signs, guard rails, kerbs, boundary walls, gates, etc.)
  • a State-owned vehicle is involved in the accident;
  • any of the motor vehicles does not have a valid insurance vignette;
  • one of the drivers does not hold a valid driving licence.

You need to call the police.

You will see on the form that it has a list of situations where you can put a cross to mark the reason of your accident and below it draw a sketch.

My insurance company has also supplied my a guide in case of accident which is more related to their policy of what they cover and how they proceed.
It consists of several pages which I’m not going to list in here what it entails. But in simple conclusion if you have been involved in an accident whether it was a constat à l’amiable or not and the other parties insurance is not reacting or things are just not progressing at all for your case you might then just opt to have your insurance cover for repairs and you pay the excess. Ofcourse there are various procedures you can carry out to get the other party to pay but in some situations the amount of time and effort that you will loose might just be so nerve wrecking that you are just better off paying your excess and have your car repaired.

Add on: 01.08.2014Failing to report accident within 4 hours to the police will result into a fine if you haven’t agreed on a constat à l’amiable!
If you have done an accident that should be reported to the police, please keep in mind that you have a 4 hours span to do so. If you do not report the accident within this time delay it will be considered as an offence and you will be required to pay a fine. This was told to me by a policeman. Also once you have had an accident and you and the other party have agreed that it will be a constat à l’amiable then you are not going to involve the police. If after a day you decide otherwise then you are going to get into a big mess! You better decide this right on the spot.

Also inform your insurance as soon as possible. According to your insurance policy you have also a minimum time span to inform them. If you are unable to inform them due to injuries etc. they should have comprehension.

Thanks also to Yashvin Awootar who contributed into getting more knowledge about this theme on my Google+ post. Also check his blog which has many interesting posts.

Other links:
Road Safety Unit
National Transport Authority
Road traffic act
Mauritius Police

Image reference: Morguefile


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4 thoughts on “What does Constat à l’amiable mean? Driving and Accidents in Mauritius

  1. Yashvin

    My pleasure to help.

    As for the fitness sheet, although it is clearly written that it should be in the vehicle all times, the law is not enforced in Mauritius. Till now, I never heard of any police checks requiring the fitness sheet.

    No first aid kit but as you said, a fire extinguisher (please check expiry dates).

     
    Reply
    1. Dietmar Reigber

      Hi Yashvin,

      so far I also haven’t had any policeman ask for the fitness sheet on routine checks. Only at the post office when I pay for road tax. A first aid kit might not be compulsory but good to have. Do you know if you need to complete a first aid course as part of getting the drivers licence? In Germany if you don’t pass the first aid course you don’t get your licence. Those expiry dates are tricky, about time to check them.

       
      Reply
  2. Ally Hossen

    When the accident has been reportedand piluce ask for the witnesses to come and give statement, then what happens??

     
    Reply
    1. Dietmar Reigber

      Hi Ally,

      interesting question. In case of a constat à l’amiable this wouldn’t be the case. However for more serious accidents one has to report to the police within 3 hours else it is an offence. I do not know how it is regulated in case you are injured and at the hospital or absolutely unable to give your statement. Maybe in that case the police will come see you or wait.

      If it’s a call for witnesses, one just/or has to go forward I guess.

      If it’s a case where witnesses are identified I believe they are forced by law to give their account/testimony. If it’s a bad accident where high stakes are at play, the Judge or panel, if any, and the defense and prosecutor will use the testimony/witness for judgement / defence / prosecution. The court will then decide.

      If others reading this post have more infos to share regarding this question that would be great. If I get more clear details I will post here again Ally. If you have found infos elsewhere that answered your question, pls share with us so that we can all benefit.

       
      Reply

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