In the shots leading up to the demise of the truck in the desert--before the L-to-R pan that leaves Nicholson's body high and dry, we do get R-to-L actions: a pan that follows the truck itself as it is zooming through the dunes; the play of sand thrown out from under the spinning wheels; the shovels of sand we see coming from behind the vehicle's profile as Nicholson/Locke tries to dig his transportation out.
In the shots represented above, we mostly see a movement from left to right, with Nicholson's body crossing in front of the camera. This is not a literal and schematic application. For example, the images of one and two are the first two shots of the sequence of Locke's return; they are like a soft or weak jump cut, really. Only through the second cut does he pass the camera--"us," readers--and continue in the third shot to the door in shot three, echoed slightly in the camera placement of the final shot illustrated here (which is shown by the last three frames).
* * *
"Like Blow-Up, The Passenger affirms the impossibility of seeing the crime in the present. Here the moment of transition from the living to the dead body is concealed, maintained offscreen through a complex camera movement that traces a hollow space, installs a void in the center of the scene, and empties out vision from within. The camera, and the spectator with it, sees from this groundless position, this invisible space in which somebody is dying. Through a complete reversal of perspective, the vanishing point, the point sanctioning the disappearance of the scene, is being projected all the way back to the viewpoint and even behind it."
--Domietta Torlasco, "Undoing the Scene of the Crime: Perspective and the Vanishing of the Spectator" in Camera Obscura 64, p. 104.