MiX Telematics, a leading global provider of fleet and mobile asset management solutions, has released statistics indicating that the COVID-19 lockdown had a positive effect on vehicle crime and road-related incidents mainly due to the 74% decline in vehicle usage and the heightened visibility of police.
As expected, the restriction on public movement and alcohol consumption (restriction now lifted) resulted in certain types of crime reducing but it also resulted in other types of crime increasing. Unemployment, food shortages and crime-syndicates adjusting their activities all have an impact on on-going crime.
Insights from MiX data show that vehicle theft and hijacking incidents were down by 76% during the lockdown. There was also a 70% decline in alerts on the Matrix tracking platform for vehicles entering high-risk zones, border alerts and GeoLock alerts.
Trip data from Matrix motorists show that 53% were driving distances less than 5km during the lockdown with the number of motorists driving further than 20 km halved during the lockdown. Gauteng saw the highest compliance with the lockdown if we consider trip data, at a reduction in trips by 65%, followed by the Western Cape (61%) and the Free State (56%).
Data from commercial vehicles monitored showed a significant decline in truck accidents with a 66% reduction and also in panic alerts by truck drivers with a 52% reduction. Other driving event alerts like entering no-go border zones, dashboard tampering and disconnected power also declined.
“Overall, MiX monitors almost 600 000 vehicles in South Africa of which 250 000 are commercial vehicles. 48 000 of our Fleet Customer base are also subscribed to the MiX Track and React Bureau service, our gold standard service which provides 24/7 eyes-on-screen monitoring. Our customers require stringent vehicle asset management over this time where efficiencies and timely delivery are even more critical,” says Gert Pretorius, MD for MiX Telematics Africa.
MiX has a large number of clients which were delivering fast-moving consumer goods, pharmaceuticals and other essential products and services during the lockdown and played a crucial role in actively supporting and monitoring vehicle assets to help ensure efficiencies at a time where the country has been heavily reliant on the fleet sector.
Pretorius says that as the phased easing of the lockdown regulations commences and more motorists and truckers get back on the roads, we are likely to see an increase in driving incidents and vehicle theft once again.
“The MiX Track and React bureau and the Recovery Control Room are on 24/7 standby to assist with panic alerts and emergency incidents. In the event that there is a dramatic surge in incidents whilst the criminals regroup and try to recoup their lost revenue, MiX is prepared,” he says.
Pretorius has also paid tribute to the supply chain and trucking industry which he says has risen to the challenges forced on it by the lockdown. “It has a critical role to play in the country’s economy.”