Field Sobriety Tests (FSTs), also referred to as Standardized Field Sobriety Tests (SFSTs), are a battery of tests used by police officers to determine if a person suspected of impaired driving is intoxicated with alcohol or drugs. FSTs (and SFSTs) are primarily used in the US, to meet "probable cause for arrest" requirements (or the equivalent), necessary to sustain an alcohol-impaired driving (DWI or DUI) conviction based on a chemical blood alcohol test.
Impaired driving, referred to as Driving under the influence (DUI), or Driving while intoxicated (DWI), is the crime of driving a motor vehicle while impaired by alcohol or other drugs (including recreational drugs and those prescribed by physicians), to a level that renders the driver incapable of operating a motor vehicle safely. People who receive multiple DUI offenses are often people struggling with alcoholism or alcohol dependence.
Traffic accidents are predominantly caused by driving under the influence; for people in Europe between the age of 15 and 29, DUI is one of the main causes of mortality. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration alcohol-related crashes cause approximately $37 billion in damages annually.DUI and alcohol-related crashes produce an estimated $45 billion in damages every year.
With alcohol, a drunk driver's level of intoxication is typically determined by a measurement of blood alcohol content or BAC; but this can also be expressed as a breath test measurement, often referred to as a BrAC. A BAC or BrAC measurement in excess of the specific threshold level, such as 0.08%, defines the criminal offense with no need to prove impairment. In some jurisdictions, there is an aggravated category of the offense at a higher BAC level, such as 0.12%, 0.15% or 0.20%. In many jurisdictions, police officers can conduct field tests of suspects to look for signs of intoxication. The US state of Colorado has a maximum blood content of THC for drivers who have consumed cannabis.
In most countries, driver's licence suspensions, fines and prison sentences for DUI offenders are used as a deterrent. Anyone who is convicted of driving while under the influence of alcohol or other drugs can be heavily fined and/or given a prison sentence. In some jurisdictions, impaired drivers who injure or kill another person while driving may face heavier penalties. In addition, many countries have prevention campaigns that use advertising to make people aware of the danger of driving while impaired and the potential fines and criminal charges, discourage impaired driving, and encourage drivers to take taxis or public transport home after using alcohol or drugs. In some jurisdictions, the bar that served an impaired driver may face civil liability. In some countries, non-profit advocacy organizations, a well-known example being Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) run their own publicity campaigns against drunk driving.
The US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) began research in 1975 on how to test suspects for impaired driving. The NHTSA developed a series of tests that police officers could use when evaluating suspected impaired drivers. By 1981, officers in the United States began using the organization's battery of standardized sobriety tests to help make decisions about whether to arrest suspected impaired drivers. The tests were designed to indicate intoxication associated with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.10%.
An early NHTSA report described a 6-test battery. A 1981 report became the basis of SFTs used in the United States, including the NHTSA's Standardized Field Sobriety Test (SFST) battery published Mar-1999.
After some US states began lowering their BAC limits to 0.08%, a study was done to see if the battery could be used to detect BACs at or above 0.08% and above and below 0.04%. This was done to deal with the changes in the laws that led to lower legal BAC limits across the US.
One of the most controversial aspects of a DUI stop is the use of Field Sobriety Tests (FST). The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has developed a model system for managing Standardized Field Sobriety Test (SFST) training. They have published several training manuals associated with FSTs. As a result of the NHTSA studies, the walk-and-turn test was determined to be 68% accurate, and the one-leg stand test is only 65% accurate when administered to people within the study parameters. The tests were not validated for people with medical conditions, injuries, 65 years or older, and 50 pounds or greater overweight. The officer will administer one or more field sobriety tests. FSTs are considered "divided attention tests" that test the suspect's ability to perform the type of mental and physical multitasking that is required to operate an automobile. Nevertheless, these tests can be problematic for people with non-obvious disabilities affecting proprioception, such as Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (EDS).
FSTs and SFSTs are promoted as, "used to determine whether a subject is impaired", but FST tests are widely regarded having, as their primary purpose, establishing tangible evidence of "probable cause for arrest" ("reasonable grounds" in Canada). A secondary purpose, is to provide supporting corroborative tangible evidence for use against the suspect for use at trial. Probable cause is necessary under US law (4th Amendment) to sustain an arrest and invocation of the implied consent law.
Similar considerations apply under the Canadian requirement to establish "reasonable grounds" for making an approved instrument demand, by establishing that there is reasonable and probable cause which lies at the point where "point where credibly-based probability replaces suspicion". It is likely that, if FSTs are being used, some equivalent to probable cause is necessary to sustain a conviction based on a demand for a chemical test.
According to the NHTSA, a suspect does not "pass" or "fail" a field sobriety test, but rather the police determine whether "clues" are observed during the test. Nevertheless, some of the literature will still include comments that a suspect "fails" one or more of these tests.
The three validated tests by NHTSA are:
Alternative tests, which have not been "scientifically" validated by the NHTSA, include:
There were three tests chosen to constitute the "Standardized Field Sobriety Tests", which are: (1) the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus Test; (2) the Walk & Turn Test; and (3) the One-Leg Stand Test.
Although most law enforcement agencies continue to use a variety of these FSTs, most use the three-test battery of validated field sobriety tests, referred to as the Standardized Field Sobriety Test (SFST). The NHTSA-approved battery of tests consists of the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus Test (HGN Test), the Walk-and-Turn Test (WAT), and the One-Leg-Stand Test (OLS).
In some states, e.g., Ohio, only the standardized tests will be admitted into evidence, provided they were administered and objectively scored "in substantial compliance" with NHTSA standards (ORC 4511.19(D)(4)(b)).
The first test that is typically administered is the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus or HGN test, which is administered by the police officer checking the test subject's eyes. During this test, the officer looks for involuntary jerking of the suspect's eyes as they gaze toward the side. The officer checks for three clues in each eye, which gives six clues for this test. The clues are: lack of smooth pursuit of the eyes, distinct and sustained nystagmus at the eyes' maximum deviation and nystagmus starting before the eyes reach 45 degrees.
While the original research indicated that 6 out of 6 clues (or cues) meant that a person was more likely above 0.08% at the time of the test, subsequent research conducted by the NHTSA has indicated that a "Hit" occurred when the number of reported signs for a given BAC fell within the range: a > 0.06% at 4–6 clues; a 0.05 – 0.059% at 2–4 clues; a 0.03 – 0.049% at 0–4 clues and a < 0.03% at 0–2 cues or clues. The police may also then check for Vertical Gaze Nystagmus, which is used to test for high blood alcohol levels and/or the presence of certain drugs.
While the purpose is obtaining probable cause support for an arrest and possibly screening, in some jurisdictions, the HGN test may be used as corroborating evidence at the trial stage. US jurisdictions differ on whether trial use of the HGN test requires that an expert establish a reliable foundation, as required under the Daubert standard
The second test that is usually administered is the Walk and Turn Test, or WAT Test. This test measures the suspect's ability to maintain their balance, walk in a straight line, and follow directions. To perform the test, the suspect will take nine heel-to-toe steps along a straight line during which time they must keep their arms to their side and count each step out loud. While the suspect performs this test, the officer is attempting to observe if the suspect fails to follow instructions; is having difficulty keeping their balance; stops walking in order to regain their balance; takes an incorrect number of steps; or fails to walk the line heel-to-toe. The walk-and-turn test is composed of two phases: the Instruction Phase and Walking Phase. During the test, the individual is directed to take nine steps along a straight line. The individual is supposed to walk heel to toe, and while looking down at a real or imaginary line, count the steps out loud. The test subject's arms must remain at their side. Reaching the ending point, the individual must turn around using a series of small steps, and return to the starting point. The proper instruction, according to the NHTSA Guidelines, is as follows:
The other standardized test is the One Leg Stand (OLS). The OLS test requires the suspect to stand on one leg for 30 seconds and also measures balance, coordination, and similar to the WAT test, divides the suspect's attention. The officer is looking for any of the four possible clues: Sways while balancing, uses arms for balance, hopping and puts their foot down.
The One-Leg Stand test is composed of two stages: the Instruction Phase and Balancing Phase. The proper instruction, according to the NHTSA Guidelines, is as follows:
The term "non-standardized" references the NTSA SFSTs, sometimes referenced by the NHTSA as "other sobriety tests". The NHTSA indicates that the non-standardized tests are either "not scientifically reliable", with some assertions that SFSTs can be used to estimate 0.08% BAC. Nevertheless, these tests are common in North America, because the primary purpose of FSTs is to establish probable cause to sustain an arrest and invoke the implied consent law.
"Non-standardized tests" include sequentially touching fingertips while counting forward and backward, touching the nose, alphabet recitals and Romberg's test (stationary balance, test for Romberg's sign).
The Preliminary Breath Test (PBT) or Preliminary Alcohol Screening test (PAS) is sometimes categorised as part of field sobriety testing, although it is not part of the series of performance tests. The PBT (or PAS) uses a portable breath tester, but its primary use is for screening and establishing probable cause for arrest, to invoke the implied consent requirements or to establish "reasonable grounds" for making an approved instrument demand in Canada.
Different requirements apply in many states to drivers under DUI probation, in which case participation in a preliminary breath test (PBT) may be a condition of probation, and for commercial drivers under "drug screening" requirements. Some US states, notably California, have statutes on the books penalizing PBT refusal for drivers under 21; however the Constitutionality of those statutes has not been tested. (As a practical matter, most criminal lawyers advise not engaging in discussion or "justifying" a refusal with the police.)
In Canada, PBT refusal may be considered a refusal offense under Canada Criminal Code § 254. The status of PBT refusal in Australia is unclear, although in Western Australia it appears to mandate submission to PBTs under the Road Traffic Act 1974. (National states without probable cause or "reasonable grounds" requirements are of course likely to be less restrictive on PBT/PAS requirements.)
FSTs are considered subjective. Additionally, their applicability to large segments of the population is limited.
Critics of standardized field sobriety tests often question the statistical evidence behind them, and the ability of the officers to administer the tests and actually judge for impairments related to alcohol. According to Barone, one study involved completely sober individuals who were asked to perform the standardized field sobriety tests, and their performances were videotaped. "After viewing the 21 videos of sober individuals taking the standardized field tests, the police officers believed that forty-six percent of the individuals had 'too much to drink'". It should not be out of the question for the standardized field sobriety tests to be re-examined for reliability and validity. A standardized test that claims to have scientific support should be able to be repeated. Along with that, the standardized field sobriety tests do not have a specific standard for grading, and it is left up to the discretion of the officer to determine whether what he/she see observes is actually a cue sufficient to count against the test subject. The NHTSA's 1977 study had an error rate of 47 percent, and the 1981 study had an error rate of 32 percent, which is considered unusually high for a scientific study.
One of the main criticisms of field sobriety tests is that the judgment is left up to the discretion of the police officer. An officer may have some bias towards a suspect and judge the test more critically than necessary. Additionally, it is almost impossible to tell whether or not a police officer used proper procedures for administering the field sobriety test when a case is brought to court. The original research conducted by the NHTSA is often disputed because of the manner in which they were conducted and the conclusions that were reported.
One author alleges that FSD analysis reports do not meet scientific peer review standards: "The reports for all three studies issued by NHTSA are lacking much of the material and analysis expected in a scientific paper, and none have been published in peer-reviewed journals" (Rubenzer 2008; Rubenzer 2011).
As noted supra, these tests can be problematic for people with non-obvious disabilities affecting proprioception, such as Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (EDS). Conditions affecting mobility, physical ailments and age adversely affect performance on FSTs.
One of the main problems with the walk-and-turn test is that some of the signs of alcohol impairment may stem from other physical problems. Along with that, there are other signs of physical impairment that can stem from various causes, including fatigue, an injury or illness, and nervousness. Those who are physically inactive, elderly, or obese may have trouble completing the walk-and-turn test without flaw. The NTSA used to say that those who are 50 pounds or more overweight may have difficulty performing the test, and that the suspect must walk along a real line. "Later NHTSA manuals removed the weight comment, and also inserted the phrase 'imaginary line' at the instruction phase, even though original research always used a visible line". The fact that officers are no longer required to provide a line for the suspect to walk along may affect the outcome of the test, and often adds to the scrutiny received from critics.
In all US jurisdictions, participation in a Field Sobriety Test is voluntary.. (Police are not obliged to advise the suspect that participation in a FST or other pre-arrest procedures is voluntary. In contrast, formal evidentiary tests given under implied consent requirements are considered mandatory.)
A suspect requested to participate in a Field Sobriety Test is likely to be told that the purpose is to determine whether the suspect is impaired; however, FST tests are widely regarded as having, as their primary purpose, gaining tangible evidence for use against the suspect. The evidence is important in the establishment of probable cause for arrest. Since probable cause is necessary under US law (4th Amendment) to sustain an arrest and invocation of the implied consent law, it is important that the police document probable cause.
The NHTSA recommends administering the HGN test as the first of the SFSTs, but does not state the reason. FSTs are voluntary, so consideration is given to encourage suspects to comply with requests to participate in the tests. The HST is characterized by the tester performing a visible activity, so the suspect is less likely to decline at that stage. The completion of one test increases the likelihood that the suspect will participate in follow-up FSTs. The suspect may also perceive the HGN (as administered) as having a scientific foundation.
In cases in which a PBT (or PST) is administered first, the HGN may be administered after completion of other SFSTs, as the purpose of administering the HGN first is obviated by the PBT/PST.
FSTs are primarily used in national states that require the police establish probable cause for arrest (reasonable grounds in Canada) as a prerequisite for requiring a chemical blood alcohol test. FSTs are generally regarded as a curiosity elsewhere.
To determine impairment in countries such as Australia, a simple breath or urine test is often taken. If police suspect that a driver is under the influence of a substance such as alcohol, then the driver will undergo a breath test. If over the legal limit of 0.05g per 100 milliltres of blood, then a second breath test will be taken and used as evidence against the driver when charged with the offence. If a person is suspected to be under the influence of an illegal drug, they will be required to supply a urine sample. If the urine sample is positive, then the urine is sent for more testing to determine the exact drug taken (confirmation of being illegal or prescribed). A similar process to being over the legal BAC level is undertaken using the evidence to penalise the user.
Commentary varies on taking SFSTs in Canada. Some sources, especially official ones, indicate that the SFSTs are mandatory, and required under § 254(2)(a) of the Criminal code, whereas other sources are silent on FST testing.. The assertion regarding mandatory compliance with SFSTs is based on "failure to comply with a demand", as an offence under § 254(5) of the Criminal Code, but it is unclear how refusal of SFSTs under § 254(2)(a) are treated (provided the suspect agrees to take a chemical test). N.B.: There are some reports that refusal to submit to an SFST can result in the same penalties as impaired driving.
Nevertheless, it is unclear whether there has ever been a prosecution under this interpretation of "failure to comply with a demand" as applied to SFSTs. Canada Criminal Code § 254(1) and (5) addresses this, but only with respect to chemical testing (breath, blood, etc.)
United States law on DUI, primarily falls under state law, but are still subject to federal Constitutional requirements. Thus, in all jurisdictions, participation in FSTs is voluntary.
In the US, the legal procedure is police stop (Police stop requiring "reasonable suspicion" or another qualified reason for a police stop), probable cause, and arrest. FSTs are requested in the police stop phase, and are used to provide tangible evidence sufficient to meet the requirements for probable cause for an arrest. Evidential tests are performed in the arrest stage, although the terminology may vary. Regardless of the terminology, in order to sustain a conviction based on evidential tests, probable cause must be shown (or the suspect must volunteer to take the evidential test without implied consent requirements being invoked).
Police are not obliged to advise the suspect that participation in a FST or other pre-arrest procedures is voluntary. In contrast, formal evidentiary tests given under implied consent requirements are considered mandatory.
A breathalyzer or breathalyser (a portmanteau of breath and analyzer/analyser) is a device for estimating blood alcohol content (BAC) from a breath sample. Breathalyzer is the brand name (a genericized trademark) for the instrument that tests the alcohol level developed by inventor Robert Frank Borkenstein. It was registered as a trademark on May 13, 1954, but many people use the term to refer to any generic device for estimating blood alcohol content.Driving under the influence
Driving under the influence (DUI) is the crime or offense of driving or operating a motor vehicle while impaired by alcohol or other drugs (including recreational drugs and those prescribed by physicians), to a level that renders the driver incapable of operating a motor vehicle safely.Drunk driving in the United States
Drunk driving is the act of operating a motor vehicle with the operator's ability to do so impaired as a result of alcohol consumption, or with a blood alcohol level in excess of the legal limit. For drivers 21 years or older, driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or higher is illegal. For drivers under 21 years old, the legal limit is lower, with state limits ranging from 0.00 to 0.02. Lower BAC limits apply when operating boats, airplanes, or commercial vehicles. Among other names, the criminal offense of drunk driving may be called driving under the influence (DUI), driving while intoxicated or impaired (DWI), operating [a] vehicle under the influence of alcohol (OVI), or operating while impaired (OWI).National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA, pronounced "NITS-uh") is an agency of the Executive Branch of the U.S. government, part of the Department of Transportation. It describes its mission as "Save lives, prevent injuries, reduce vehicle-related crashes."As part of its activities, NHTSA is charged with writing and enforcing Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards as well as regulations for motor vehicle theft resistance and fuel economy, as part of the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) system. FMVSS 209 was the first standard to become effective on 1 March, 1967. NHTSA also licenses vehicle manufacturers and importers, allows or blocks the import of vehicles and safety-regulated vehicle parts, administers the vehicle identification number (VIN) system, develops the anthropomorphic dummies used in U.S. safety testing as well as the test protocols themselves, and provides vehicle insurance cost information. The agency has asserted preemptive regulatory authority over greenhouse gas emissions, but this has been disputed by such state regulatory agencies as the California Air Resources Board.
The Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards are contained in the United States Code of Federal Regulations, Title 49, Part 571. This is commonly referred to as 49CFR571, with any particular FMVSS appended after a period; for example 49CFR571.301 is the location of FMVSS 301. Additional federal vehicle standards are contained elsewhere in the CFR. For instance, 49CFR564 contained the specifications and requirements for various types of replaceable headlamp light sources (bulbs), until this information was moved to a docket elsewhere, with effect from 2 December 2012.Another of NHTSA's major activities is the creation and maintenance of the data files maintained by the National Center for Statistics and Analysis. In particular, the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS), has become a resource for traffic safety research not only in the United States, but throughout the world. Research contributions using FARS by researchers from many countries appear in many non-U.S. technical publications, and provide a significant database and knowledge bank on the subject. Even with this database, conclusive analysis of crash causes often remains difficult and controversial, with experts debating the veracity and statistical validity of results.New York City Police Department Highway Patrol
The New York City Police Department Highway Patrol, also known as the NYPD Highway Patrol or by the shorthand NYPD HWY, is a specialized unit under the auspices of the NYPD's Transportation Bureau primarily responsible for patrolling and maintaining traffic safety on limited-access highways within New York City. The NYPD Highway Patrol's other duties and roles include accident investigations, advanced driver and radar training for NYPD officers, field sobriety testing, dignitary and parade escorts, hazardous material and truck traffic enforcement, anti-drag racing programs, and anti-terrorist checkpoints at key bridges and intersections in the city.Organization of the New York City Police Department
The New York City Police Department (NYPD) is structured into numerous bureaus and units. As a whole, the NYPD is headed by the Police Commissioner, a civilian administrator appointed by the Mayor, with the senior sworn uniformed officer of the service titled "Chief of Department". The Police Commissioner appoints a number of Deputy and Assistant Commissioners. The Department is divided into twenty bureaus, six of which are enforcement bureaus. Each enforcement bureau is further sub-divided into sections, divisions, and units, and into patrol boroughs, precincts, and detective squads. Each Bureau is commanded by a Bureau Chief (such as the Chief of Patrol and the Chief of Housing). There are also a number of specialized units (such as the Technical Assistance Response Unit) that are not part of any of the Bureaus and report to the Chief of the Department.Proprioception
Proprioception ( PROH-pree-o-SEP-shən) , also referred to as kinaesthesia (or kinesthesia, in American English), is the sense of self-movement and body position. It is sometimes described as the "sixth sense".Proprioception is mediated by proprioceptors, mechanosensory neurons located within muscles, tendons, and joints. There are multiple types of proprioceptors which are activated during distinct behaviors and encode distinct types of information: limb velocity and movement, load on a limb, and limb limits. Vertebrates and invertebrates have distinct but similar modes of encoding this information.
The central nervous system integrates proprioception and other sensory systems, such as vision and the vestibular system, to create an overall representation of body position, movement, and acceleration.
More recently proprioception has also been described in flowering land plants (angiosperms).Traffic stop
A traffic stop, commonly called being pulled over, is a temporary detention of a driver of a vehicle by police to investigate a possible crime or minor violation of law.Traffic violations reciprocity
Under traffic violations reciprocity agreements, non-resident drivers are treated like residents when they are stopped for a traffic offense that occurs in another jurisdiction. They also ensure that punishments such as penalty points on one's license and the ensuing increase in insurance premiums follow the driver home. The general principle of such interstate, interprovincial, and/or international compacts is to guarantee the rule "one license, one record."Westchester County Department of Public Safety
See article: Law enforcement in Westchester County
The Westchester County Department of Public Safety was created in 1979 by merging the Westchester County Sheriff's Office with the Westchester County Parkway Police.
The current Commissioner/Sheriff is Thomas Gleason.The department provides primary police coverage for county parks, parkways and facilities as well as for the Town/Village of Mount Kisco. It also provide patrols within Town of Cortlandt. The department is the fourth largest law enforcement agency in Westchester County after the New York State Police, the Department of Corrections and the City of Yonkers Police.York Regional Police
The York Regional Police (YRP) are a law enforcement organization that serves over 1.1 million residents in the York Region of Ontario, Canada, located north of Toronto. YRP was formed in 1971 from the police forces maintained by the nine municipalities which amalgamated into York Region at the time.
While YRP provides marine policing in the waters on Lake Simcoe, policing for Georgina Island (as well as Fox and Snake islands) is provided by the Georgian Island Police with assistance from the Ontario Provincial Police. The islands had separate policing under Ontario First Nation policing since 1971.