When the police pull drivers over under the suspicion of drunk driving, they may ask drivers to perform field sobriety tests. Field sobriety tests are physical examinations that can help the police collect evidence on a driver’s condition. They’re primarily used to justify further investigation into the possibility of driving while intoxicated.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has sanctioned three standardized field sobriety tests. There’s also another kind of field sobriety test drivers may need to learn about. Here’s the rundown on what they’re like:
1. Horizontal gaze nystagmus test
The police may ask a driver to look at an object, such as a pen, finger or light. The officer will then move the object left and right while the driver watches it. The driver is meant to keep their head still as they do. The driver’s eyes will naturally flicker as they watch the object, but they could be intoxicated if they flicker too much.
2. One-legged stand test
The driver may be asked to lift one leg. They’ll stand on the other leg for several seconds. If the driver falls, puts down their leg or uses their arms to keep balance, then the police may suspect them of being intoxicated.
3. Walk-and-turn test
The police may have the driver walk in a straight line, typically street lines on the side of roads. The driver may walk nine paces heel-to-toe in one direction and walk back to where they started. If they take too many steps, walk off the line or fall over, then they could have been drinking and possibly intoxicated.
4. Nonstandardized tests
The police can ask drivers to do other kinds of tests. For example, a driver may be asked to put a finger on their nose as they spell the alphabet. These kinds of tests are considered nonstandardized.
Drivers pulled over for drunk driving need to know about their rights. If a driver believes their rights were violated during a traffic stop, they may need to learn more about their legal options.