Go to navigation Go to content
Phone: 804.673.5600
Bob Battle Law

Get Help Now

Need Help? Have Questions? Fill out the quick contact form below and we'll will be in contact soon!

The Effectiveness of Field Sobriety Tests

Comments (0)

Field sobriety tests are commonly used throughout Virginia to help determine if an individual has been driving under the influence. But just how good are these tests at identifying drunk drivers?

Clemson Study

Two researchers at Clemson University decided to look into whether field sobriety tests were actually accurate. They conducted a study involving 14 police officers who were told to view videotapes of 21 people taking a field sobriety test, and then determine which of the subjects were legally intoxicated.

On average, the officers classified 46% of the group as being too drunk to drive. Unfortunately, the officers didn't fare very well - because the actual number of intoxicated persons in the study was...zero.

The results of this field sobriety test study are disturbing because it means that in nearly half of these cases, an innocent person would have been wrongly arrested for driving under the influence
.

Different Results with "Normal" Activities

The Clemson study also went a step further. Researchers had these same subjects perform one of a series of so-called "normal" activities on camera for the officers in the study to observe.

These tasks included:
 

  • counting from 1 to 10
  • reciting personal information (Social Security number, address, phone number, etc.)
  • walking normally 

After viewing the same 21 people performing these tasks, the officers determined that only 15% on average of them were legally intoxicated, which was still significantly inaccurate.

Comparing this result to the previous 46% figure led the researchers to conclude that simply participating in field sobriety tests made the individuals appear to be drunk.

Browse our library for more information on field sobriety tests

The penalties for DUI in Virginia are too severe to permit courts to ‘look the other way' when police officers make errors. However, there is one certainty at a DUI trial - the DUI defendant cannot prevail on an issue his lawyer fails to recognize and raise!

If you have been arrested for DUI in Virginia, there is no time to waste! Contact Virginia DUI Lawyer Bob Battle to schedule your legal consultation today - 804-673-5600.

Bob Battle
100% of my practice is devoted to serious traffic defense and criminal litigation in state and federal courts
Be the first to comment!

Post a Comment

To reply to this message, enter your reply in the box labeled "Message", hit "Post Message."

Name:*

Email:* (will not be published)

Message:*

Notify me of follow-up comments via email.