An alarming increase in truck hijackings over the festive season has raised a red flag for fleet owners to be extra vigilant. Innovative solutions like the MiX Track and React bureau service from MiX Telematics a leading global provider of connected fleet and mobile asset management solutions delivered as Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), assist fleet operators in providing additional safety and security measures for drivers and cargo during this peak trading period.

The national crime statistics for the July to September 2020 period revealed that there has been a 32% increase in truck hijackings compared to the same period in 2019. This concerning trend is reiterated by the Statista Research Department indicating that there were 1,202 truck hijackings in South Africa during the past fiscal year from 1 April 2019 to 31 March 2020, representing a 46% increase in truck hijacking incidents since 2012. Based on the recent crime statistics, however, this will spike even further during this fiscal.

While certain crimes are showing a downward trend, the sharp rise in commercial crimes such as truck hijackings and cash-in-transit heists is noticeable on a national level. Although all major urban centres reported increases, Johannesburg’s metropolitan precincts saw a 52% increase in truck hijackings and a 5% increase in car hijackings, which is higher than any other South African city.

To help mitigate and manage the risks around hijackings, MiX Telematics offers a specialised 24/7 eyes-on-screen service where skilled agents pro-actively co-manage risk indicators in real-time. Incidents like hijackings and vehicle theft are actioned and escalated immediately, increasing driver, vehicle and cargo safety. Year-to-date MiX has seen a 9% increase in vehicle hijacking incidents on their fleet customer base compared to 2019, a figure that is steadily rising given the challenging economic times we find ourselves in as well as the increase in vehicle deliveries due to peak season activities.

“In a recent incident, a truck carrying a load of diesel worth half a million Rand was recovered after the Track and React agent assisted the driver that pressed the panic button during the hijacking. The Track and React team has recovered millions of Rand’s worth of cargo and assisted with 11 recoveries, a 100% success rate, for this specific client over the 9 years of being a MiX customer,” says Gert Pretorius, MD for MiX Telematics Africa.

With regards to all trucks that benefit from MiX’s Track and React service, over the last year, MiX’s recovery rate has been 97%. This illustrates the effectiveness of an outsourced fleet monitoring bureau to proactively manage the fleet and drivers in real-time. The agents respond to critical driving events as soon as they occur to not only assist the driver in an emergency situation but to also reduce risky driving behaviours that may be detrimental to the safety and productivity of the fleet such as speeding, distracted driving, unauthorised stopping en route and not resting on long journeys.

In challenging times such as the trucking industry is facing currently, increased visibility and greater control over what happens when the drivers are out on the road can make the difference for a business to survive until the economy turns around.

“MiX Telematics’ mission is to make the world safer with the help of our technology and to keep the world moving forward with our connected fleet solutions. Our technology improves the safety of thousands of drivers delivering goods over the festive season,” concludes Pretorius.