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I.

Purpose
This general order provides guidelines and options for stopping wrong way drivers on the state
highway system.

II. Policy
A. The Departments primary concern regarding wrong way drivers is to protect the lives and
safety of all citizens and officers. Vehicles traveling the wrong way on the state highway
system present a true and real danger to the safety of the public and responding officers.
Head-on collisions resulting from a wrong way driver creates a reasonable threat of death
or serious physical injury. Officers are required to use only the level of force that is
reasonable and necessary to accomplish their lawful objective.

B. Wrong way drivers are a dynamic and evolving situation. As such, this policy describes
best practices to mitigate the dangers to all citizens and officers and minimize property
damage.

III. Definitions
A. Channelization: The deliberate directing of a vehicle into a given path or area by the use
of stationary objects (pylons, barricades, vehicles) placed in its current path of travel.

B. Class B roadblock: A physical blockage of the road accomplished with material or


equipment, i.e., lightweight road barricade devices, pylons, flares, tire deflation devices,
etc. that would cause little or no damage to any vehicle striking it.

C. Class C roadblock: A physical blockage of a roadway with material or equipment for the
purpose of stopping, detouring, or disabling an approaching vehicle. A Class C roadblock
may only be used in a situation where deadly physical force is justified.

D. Ramming: The intentional contact by a police unit with a fleeing vehicle for the purpose of
ending a pursuit.

E. Tire deflation device: A tool which, when successfully deployed into the immediate path
of a pursued vehicle, causes controlled air loss of the striking tire(s).

F. Serious physical injury: Reference ARS 13-105(38), physical injury that creates a
reasonable risk of death, or that causes serious and permanent disfigurement or serious
impairment of health or loss or protracted impairment of the function of any bodily organ
or limb.

G. Deadly physical force: Reference Arizona Revised Statute (ARS) 13-105(14), the force
that is used with the purpose of causing death or serious physical injury, or in the manner
of its use or intended use, is capable of creating a substantial risk of causing death or
serious physical injury.

H. Traffic Break: The serpentine movement of a patrol vehicle, with emergency lights
activated, driving at a slower speed across all lanes of travel in order to create space
between traffic and an incident ahead.

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III. Procedures
A. When attempting to stop a wrong way driver, the Class B roadblock, channelization,
traffic breaks and/or tire deflation devices may be used to stop the vehicle based on the
officers training and experience.

B. The use of Arizona Department of Transportation variable message boards can be a


valuable tool to advise on-coming traffic of the wrong way driver.

C. Officers responding to a wrong way driver on a multi-lane roadway should drive in the
right lanes. Statistics show most wrong way drivers will travel in the left lane.

D. Officers should not drive the wrong direction on a controlled access highway or a one way
road.

E. Officers may parallel a wrong way driver with emergency equipment activated to warn
on-coming traffic.

F. A Class C roadblock, ramming, and the shooting of a vehicle would be authorized only in
situations where deadly physical force is justified.

G. Use of deadly physical force is authorized to defend the officer or others from what the
officer reasonably believes to be the use or imminent use of deadly physical force.

H. Refer to GO 4.1.10, Use of Force; GO 4.1.110, Roadblocks and Travel Restrictions; GO


4.1.20 Pursuit Operations and ARS 13-410, subsections A, B, C, and D.

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