Health condition interference with field sobriety tests

With patrols actively looking for suspected drunk drivers this Thanksgiving said to be stepping up, it is important for you or anyone you ride with to be aware of some basic elements of a drunk driving arrest. One thing that an officer is likely to do is to have a driver perform one or more of the standardized field sobriety tests.

According to, the three roadside tests include the one-leg stand test and the walk-and-turn test. Both of these require good balance and mental concentration. The eye test measures an involuntary jerking of the eyeball. In all three tests, there is an acknowledged margin of error with accuracy rates spanning only 65 percent to 77 percent for each test.

The accuracy of these tests may be compromised by a person's physical, mental or emotional health. A person with anxiety may naturally have a very difficult time maintaining the concentration necessary to execute a test properly. Anxiety may also impede good balance as could leg, knee, foot, hip or back problems. Balance may also be compromised in older people or those persons with some neurological conditions. When it comes to the eye test, there are also neurological problems that may make a person's eye jerk in a way that mimics the eye behavior after consuming alcohol. 

If you would like to learn more about what types of mental, emotional or physical health conditions might interfere with your ability to properly perform a roadside test for impaired driving, please feel free to visit the field sobriety test accuracy page of our Pennsylvania drunk driving defense website.

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