Following the latest attack on a truck driver at a toll plaza, FleetWatch is urging transporters to tell their drivers not to stop at the De Hoek Plaza on the N3 for a pee.
The attack happened at around 02h00 early Thursday morning when a driver heading towards Johannesburg stopped about 100m before the De Hoek plaza to relieve himself. This area is well lit and is in view of the plaza where security guards are stationed. The driver obviously felt safe – but he wasn’t.
While urinating, two suspects wearing masks and hoodies appeared out of the dark and confronted the driver. One of them was armed. The driver decided to try fight the one suspect – which is not recommended – and then ran towards the back of the truck to try get away. It was then that the armed suspect shot two rounds, one of which went into the tyre of the truck and the second round went through the drivers arm.
The suspects then fled into the nearby fields and the driver managed to get back into his truck, drive through the tollgate and stop on the other side. He notified his office and EMS, SAPS and the company response ground team were despatched. The driver was transported by ambulance to the nearest hospital and was later transferred by his company to a private hospital where he was treated further.
FleetWatch spoke to the company’s risk manager who said he was not sure whether the suspects wanted to hijack the truck or to rob the driver. He says this is not the first time that drivers have been attacked at this plaza.
Yes, it is hard for drivers to keep going when they’re bursting to pee and it is understandable that they have to occasionally stop to relieve themselves. They obviously can’t stop in the middle of nowhere in the dark as in today’s high crime climate, that is asking for trouble. It seems though that even close to toll plazas where there is light and the drivers feel safe, it is no longer safe for them to stop for a quick pee break. So what’s the answer?
And please don’t let us hear anyone saying they truck drivers shouldn’t stop anywhere to pee on the side of the road. Heck, I’ve seen whole families lining up alongside their cars on the side of the road when travelling on holiday. They all facing the same way – and they’re not there to gaze at the view.
FleetWatch will approach the N3TC to get their views on this problem. In the meantime, please warn your drivers.