Image via Wikimedia Commons

Image via Wikimedia Commons

One of the biggest bones that the trucking industry has had with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's Compliance, Safety, Accountability enforcement program has been that it doesn't distinguish between at-fault accidents and those where it was quite clearly the other party's fault.

And these are often tragic situations. One safety director told me of a case where someone bent on suicide jumped off an overpass right into the path of his company's truck.

Another good example hit the papers in New York City this week, when a 32-year-old skateboarder died trying to hitch a ride on the passenger side of a truck.

Richard Oates, owner of a Brooklyn skate shop and a skilled chef, was hanging onto the passenger side of a Mack truck Tuesday on the Lower East Side when he lost his balance after it changed lanes, according to published reports. He was run over by the passenger-side wheels.

It would appear, based on witness reports in the media, that the truck driver wasn't aware of what happened, and drove on.

The New York Times reports that hitching a ride on a vehicle, known as “skitching” in the skateboarding community, is banned by state law. Oates reportedly was known to engage in this activity, arriving by skateboard at each of the restaurants when he worked even before he opened his skateboard shop.

No charges were filed against the 37-year-old driver of the truck, which belonged to a private garbage hauling company, according to other media reports.

I suppose some might argue that the driver should have been more aware of what was happening around him, or that extra mirrors or cameras might have helped in this situation. But should a trucking company's CSA score really be subject to the results of such recklessness by a skateboarder?

Author

Deborah Lockridge
Deborah Lockridge

Deborah Lockridge

Reporting on trucking since 1990, Deborah is known for her award-winning magazine editorials and in-depth features on diverse issues, from the driver shortage to maintenance to rapidly changing technology. 28 Jesse H. Neal honors.

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Reporting on trucking since 1990, Deborah is known for her award-winning magazine editorials and in-depth features on diverse issues, from the driver shortage to maintenance to rapidly changing technology. 28 Jesse H. Neal honors.

View Bio
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