Police pulled over a Waymo car for driving in the oncoming lane


On June 19th, a Phoenix police officer pulled over an autonomous Waymo vehicle that had been driving in an oncoming traffic lane. The car was apparently confused by some construction signs and reportedly ran a red light before pulling over in a parking lot to let the officer talk to one of Waymo’s support representatives.

In about two-and-a-half minutes of bodycam footage published by AZCentral, the officer told Waymo the car was driving in a construction zone when it “went into opposing lanes of traffic, which is real bad.” He then told a curious bystander what had happened, adding, “so I light it up and it takes off in the intersection.” A dispatch record reportedly said the car drove through a red light and ‘FREAKED OUT’ before it pulled over.

Waymo spokesperson Chris Bonelli told The Verge in an email that the vehicle, which had no passengers, drove into the oncoming lane when it “encountered inconsistent construction signage,” and that “it was blocked from navigating back into the correct lane.” It stayed in the oncoming lane for about 30 seconds, Bonelli said, before the officer pulled behind the car, at which point it drove away from the cop “in an effort to clear the intersection” before pulling into the parking lot where the traffic stop took place. “The entire event,” he added, “lasted approximately one minute.”

Update July 7th: Added statement from Waymo spokesperson Chris Bonelli.



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