Field Sobriety Test
What does Field Sobriety Test mean?
Field sobriety tests have existed since the beginning of DUI enforcement. Unfortunately, for years the methods used to test drunk drivers varied among law enforcement agencies and states. In the 1970s, the U.S. Department of Transportation and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) completed research to determine the most effective tests to detect drunk driving. Research indicated there were three tests: the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus, the Walk and Turn test, and the One-Leg Stand, which offered the best probability of identifying intoxicated drivers. Now when officials discuss "standardized field sobriety testing" they are referring to these three tests.
There are some non-standardized field sobriety tests which are still in use by specific groups including the finger to the nose test, the reverse counting test, the picking up a coin test and the alphabet test.
There are valid reasons some drivers, who are not intoxicated, may not perform well on a field sobriety test. For example, many drivers have difficulty with the Walk and Turn test if they are overweight, they are wearing high heels, they are over the age of sixty or they have other debilitating physical health conditions. Talk to a DUI lawyer if you have been arrested for DUI and failed a field sobriety test.
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