Field Sobriety Tests in Georgia Explained
No Field Sobriety Test in Use Today by Police is Correlated to Driving Impairment – PERIOD.
The emergence of the Internet has led to a regurgitation of false and misleading information about the three “field sobriety test” exercises. The origin of the false field sobriety test propaganda, ironically, has been the federal government. Almost all of the misinformation is derived from federal and state law enforcement agencies connected to the federal government, state governments, or some sycophantic “research” project funded — directly or indirectly — by our federal tax dollars. Apparently trusting that the Government would NEVER deceive its citizens, well-meaning private and non-profit companies inadvertently re-post this garbage about field sobriety tests on their websites.
When I searched Google for high-ranking websites, I saw the “AAA DUI Justice Link” ranking near the top of Google rankings. Under the guise of increasing traffic safety, this fawning driving safety organization reprints out incorrect information about the accuracy of field sobriety tests, and posts hand-fed dribble from NHTSA and MADD statistics. These numbers about the reliability of the three standardized field sobriety test “battery” are inaccurate and clearly biased beyond doubt.
I did find a disclaimer at the very bottom of the field sobriety test page published by AAA, which they predictably misnamed these evaluations “Standard Field Sobriety Tests”, and that disclaimer reads as follows:
The information and content provided on this site has been collected from various third party sources, and does not necessarily represent the opinions or judgments of AAA. AAA is not responsible for, and makes no warranties or representations as to, the accuracy of the information, which is provided “as is.”
Unfortunately, this important disclaimer is buried in the fine print (it was actually posted in a 7.5 font size, but I have enlarged it here), and the 40+ errors in the tripe published by AAA in citing proven government lies and deceptions about the claimed reliability of the 3 optional field sobriety test exercises is simply inexcusable. Below, I will clarify and dispel many of these errors about NHTSA’s field sobriety tests.
Just like the other bloated driving safety Website that has been highlighted in this article, FINDLAW has posted totally INCORRECT information about the reliability of the so-called “field sobriety tests.” When we were children, we would chant, “LIAR, LIAR pants on FIRE!”
I also denounce FINDLAW for being so quick to assume that a government agency is telling the truth about police sobriety tests that they authorized, paid for, and put in print, at TAXPAYER COST, that cannot be scientifically proven to be true.
At this link: http://dui.findlaw.com/dui-arrests/field-sobriety-tests.html [hyperlink intentionally removed in order to not perpetuate the misinformation], the world’s largest legal website (their claim, not mine) spits out false information about roadside sobriety tests. Not a single peer-reviewed study or article has ever verified the unscientific “validation studies done in the mid-1990s.”
FINDLAW has done the public a great disservice by using their monolithic size to get to the top of search results for “field sobriety tests,” and posting flawed information that can and will MISLEAD thousands of accused drunk drivers who are seeking scientifically correct Internet data about sobriety “tests.”
Looking at their information, the only question I now have, is “who copied from whom,” as I compare their very similar posting to the one displayed at the AAA site I have already identified above as putting out the same drivel.
FINDLAW has had some copywriter summarize and regurgitate propaganda from NHTSA, or some other government misinformation site, talking about the sobriety field tests as being capable of identifying impaired drivers. POPPYCOCK! When your initial study was flawed from the outset, and all other data flows from flawed data, nothing good can be expected. These evaluations should be called “false incrimination tests.”
The FINDLAW site summarizes the NHTSA 3-test battery as follows:
The Standardized Field Sobriety Test (SFST) endorsed by the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA) consists of the horizontal gaze nystagmus (HGN), walk-and-turn (WAT) and one-leg stand (OLS).
Then, FINDLAW goes on to explain the mechanics of each of the three “standardized” police sobriety tests, but not one word is mentioned about the NUMEROUS true research scientists who have taken NHTSA to task over acting as though these roadside exercises are more that “party games” that can lead to false DUI DWI arrests.
Next, FINDLAW repeats the long-discredited mid-1990s validation studies that were created by the federal government in an effort to CLAIM (falsely) that somehow, police officers a decade or so after the original standardized manual was published, had suddenly developed “superpowers” and were not able to accurately GUESS which roadside drunk driving subjects were “over the 0.08 limit” (the new standard that was being used in several states at the time, and which is now the standard in every US jurisdiction), versus the far worse statistics recorded for officers who had been unable to even come close to these alleged statistics 15 years earlier.
Plus, the earlier effort to GUESS who was “over the legal limit” was attempted (under controlled conditions). They were tasked with GUESSING which drivers were 0.10 or more. Here is the completely misleading and scientifically-unsupported information, being “sold” by FINDLAW:
Taken as a whole, the three components of the SFST accurately indicate alcohol impairment in 91 percent of all cases and 94 percent of cases if explanations for some of the false positives are accepted, according to a 1998 study cited by the NHTSA.
Plus, the author must point out the pernicious and highly dangerous misconception — believed by almost all Americans — that they MUST attempt to do the optional, voluntary and self-incriminatory field sobriety tests requested by a police officer who is standing at their driver’s window of their vehicle or that they will go to jail. Having asked thousands of prospective jurors about this concept, over 90% of prospective citizens on jury duty BELIEVE they must attempt these bogus tests. This is the biggest lie of all, and officers get special semantics training on how to verbally coax, coerce, trick and berate citizens into engaging in these roadside “party games.” The attempt to “pass” these evaluations and the roadside recording of whatever is said by the citizen will later be the centerpiece of the criminal prosecution against the unsuspecting, accused intoxicated driver.
The Government has altered field sobriety test guidelines and modified important field sobriety test procedures so often that 95% of all DUI arrests are made by police officers with outdated training. One quick example of our government’s complicity in misleading newly-trained police officers is the OMISSION of this cautionary paragraph, that was in the prior 2006 field sobriety test participant manual (in the preface):
“The procedures outlined in this manual describe how the standardized field test (SFSTs) are to be administered under ideal conditions. We recognize that the SFSTs will not always be administered under ideal conditions in the field, because such conditions will not always exist.”
Source: 2006 Student Manual for NHTS & Standardized Field Sobriety Tests.
Between the last three manuals printed by NHTSA, 2006, 2013 and 2015, over 40 alterations, deletions or changes have occurred, yet no mandatory “update” of all police officers’ field sobriety test training has occurred. Plus, no system is in place for on-line update training nor written notification to all officers about sobriety test manuals being corrected or updated. Therefore, the training is NOT standardized and is NOT consistent for all officers.
The truth is that a failed field sobriety test usually can be explained by one of these 5 flawed actions or defective field sobriety test procedures:
The officer instructs the sobriety tests incorrectly.
The person asked to perform the field sobriety test is too old or out of shape to EVER “pass” sobriety tests.
The surface conditions, lighting conditions or weather conditions impact the detained person’s ability to execute field sobriety test exercises.
The officer’s scoring method is subjective and hyper-technical so as to assure failure of the sobriety tests.
The inherent flaws in the scoring protocol cause the subject to fail.
Since the inception of SFST “research,” hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars have been committed to this project, after the first field testing manual was released for distribution to police in 1984. It was called the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s “Standardized Field Sobriety Tests.” Most of the taxpayer money spent by the federal government since 1975 went to Dr. Burns and her cronies. Ironically, these evaluations are NOT reliable to identify impaired drivers and have never been correlated to prove “driving impairment.” From that starting point, let’s learn more about how this boondoggle has operated to the detriment of millions of innocent drivers on America’s highways over the past 30+ years.
To begin, let’s review how current DUI laws are set up across America to count on the field sobriety tests to help make their case.
First, every state in the Union allows drivers age 21 and over to DRINK AND DRIVE. Thus, driving under the influence of alcohol is a “crime of degree,” wherein a person can consume a little alcohol and be legal to drive, but the same person drink one more drink and become a criminal. An alcohol-based DWI-DUI is generally proven two ways: (1) by being too impaired to drive, due to overconsumption, or (2) being “over the legal limit.” Some states require a prosecutor to elect which type of DUI-alcohol to pursue, but most states allow the prosecutor to try to prove DUI by any number of theories, in the alternative.
Second, almost every state has passed statutes called administrative license suspension laws or administrative license revocation laws. Under these laws, when a driver is arrested for DUI-DWI and given his or her “implied consent” rights, which explain the administrative sanctions of either REFUSING to be tested for alcohol (or drug) levels, or who SUBMITS to testing and has a BAC level over the legal limit, can face loss of driving privileges or restricted driving privileges or a financial penalty or even face some jail time in the different states. In many states, the TOTAL loss of all driving privileges for REFUSING to be tested can be a powerful negotiating tool for police officers to use to coerce a driver into entering a guilty plea to a driving while impaired charge. In other words, the arresting officer may be willing to withdraw the administrative suspension or revocation, if the accused drunk driver agrees to enter a guilty plea to the underlying criminal charge. Many citizens with excellent drunken driving cases capitulate and enter a guilty plea, rather than lose their right to drive, with at least restricted privileges.
Third, a threshold determination of “probable cause to arrest” for DUI is a legal issue in many cases. Any officer arresting for driving while intoxicated knows that he or she must be able to back up the arrest decision with tangible proof of “impairment.” This proof typically is gathered from THREE sources: (1) What bad driving conduct was observed (e.g., swerving across lane lines, running a red light)? (2) What are the manifestations of an impaired driver, like slurred speech, unsteadiness on his or her feet, an admission of consumption of alcohol (or drugs)? & (3) How did the driver perform, if he or she attempted to perform ANY field sobriety tests — (which are 100% voluntary and optional but this little “secret” is seldom disclosed by an investigating officer BEFORE you are arrested)?
By doing NO field sobriety test exercises, and by keeping your mouth shut, most drivers protect themselves from needless self-incrimination. Think of this three-prong “probable cause” stool, and ask how this stool would STAND with just one leg, or two legs, and not three?
When you do not KNOW your legal rights, you can’t EXERCISE your legal rights. So, over 1 million clueless American drivers attempt to perform the non-scientific, non-standardized and not-much-better-than-flipping-a-coin field sobriety tests, and end up in jail. Be smart and JUST SAY NO to all roadside field tests. Taking ANY field sobriety test is 100% optional, although few cops will inform you of this when “asking” you to incriminate yourself.
The THREE so-called “Standardized” Field Sobriety Tests – The Eye Test (HGN), the Walk the Line Test (WAT) and the One Leg Stand Test (OLS)
Burns and her other field sobriety test researchers originally collected data about currently-used police roadside sobriety test rules for proving intoxication. Three of these tests, when administered in a standardized manner, were claimed to create “a highly accurate and reliable battery of sobriety tests for distinguishing BACs above 0.10.” These are the CLAIMED levels of the three evaluations, but none of their work was exposed to peer review, and the statistics gathered from these federally-funded studies fall far short of being complete. Therefore, full review of HOW BAD these DUI test methods and results of field sobriety test procedures really were cannot be precisely quantified.
Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN) – [the EYE test]
Walk-and-Turn (WAT) – [the walk-the-line test]
One-Leg Stand (OLS) – [the balance test]
NHTSA’s manual reported laboratory test data (from Burns and company) and reported the following numbers, after the 1981 study was completed:
HGN, by itself, was 77% accurate
WAT, by itself, was 68% accurate
OLS, by itself, was 65% accurate
The year 1981 was the LAST time any controlled investigation was done by NHTSA, regardless of claims in later manuals of accuracy levels of 90% or more. Other field sobriety test researchers who have reviewed these reported accuracy numbers by NHTSA have pointed out the failure of the investigation team to FIRST establish how well totally sober persons, at various ages, could perform the evaluations. This process is called “establishing norms” in the field of clinical psychology. Moreover, the reported statistics omitted some of the false positive statistics and did not account for inter-rater variations on the DUI test which put these numbers far lower. The term “inter-rater” means that different officers tested the same subject and came up with different numbers. These statistics were collected in the two controlled studies (1977 and 1981) by Dr. Burns and her standard field sobriety test observers.
What is the Origin of the Use of Field Sobriety Tests Now Used by DUI-DWI Officers?
In the early days of law enforcement of motor vehicle traffic, no systematic methods for screening suspected drunken drivers existed. Meaningless “evaluation” methods, such as having a person blow into an officer’s hat, or requesting that the suspect pick up coins that the officer had tossed on the ground were used. The common instruction for the coin pickup test was to pick up each coin in the order of denomination (i.e., the nickel first, then the dime and then the quarter).
In the early 1970s, a Ph.D. candidate in California, who was interested in “testing and measurement,” saw an opportunity to write her thesis about the horrors of drunken driving. As her thesis was being finished, she began to write letters and give lectures about the NEED for better, standardized roadside testing protocols for all police officers to use. This outspoken proponent was Dr. Marcelline Burns of California. She pointed out the lack of uniformity of field sobriety testing across America, and posited that it SHOULD be possible to create field tests that were administered and graded in a standardized, controlled and systematic fashion, so that the motoring public would be given “fair” tests of their sobriety before being arrested.
The stated GOAL was “to make our highways safer” by removing drunk drivers through better police training on the proper methods of screening suspected drunk drivers for alcohol impairment through roadside testing.
Prompted by the challenge suggested by newly-minted psychology-researcher Burns, in 1974, the federal government put out an RFP (request for proposal — bids), asking “research” scientists who wanted to bid for this federal money to submit their ideas for developing a standardized group of “roadside sobriety evaluations” that would enable officers across America — regardless of State or agency — to identify the suspected impaired drivers who should be arrested for drunken driving.
Because alcohol was (and still is) the most common type of driving impairment by far, the study was funded to create some “standardized” roadside exercises that would target drunken drivers only — not drugged drivers. These evaluations should be easy for officers to do, and not be the type tests that would put the officer at risk for his or her safety. Because alcohol was by far the most common type of driving impairment, the study was limited to creating some roadside exercises that would target drunk drivers only and not drugged drivers.
Dr. Burns’ supervising Psychology professor, Dr. Herb Moskowitz, encouraged her to see if she could get someone at NHTSA interested in her ideas. A seasoned psychology professor, Moskowitz also knew that federal grants were available to “researchers,” if the proper public safety presentation caught the attention of the right people in charge of federal highway funds. The big selling point of this proposal was, plain and simply stated, that more DUI-DWI convictions could be obtained by “standardizing” a few agility and mental acuity exercises to be utilized by investigating officers.
Burns’ Initial Field Sobriety Test investigation was to determine which field tests officers were already using
Thus, the quest to create standardized, police sobriety tests was on in the mid-1970s, before NHTSA requested proposals to bid on contracts for conducting research to identify the best “field sobriety tests” that an officer could use at roadside. Marcelline Burns, a research psychologist and the director of the Southern California Research Institute and her group submitted a technical and cost proposal and her group, the Southern California Research Institute (SCRI), was awarded the preliminary contract by NHTSA to do the initial research in 1975.
So, beginning in 1975 federal studies were sponsored by the Department of Transportation, through NHTSA. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is a branch of the Department of Transportation (DOT). The initial contracts were all made with the Southern California Research Institute (SCRI) to determine which of the field sobriety tests were the most defendable to identify drivers who were at or above the legal limit. In other words, SCRI initially was not asked to develop field sobriety tests by officers around the USA. Several other federal contracts were later funded for follow-up work on developing a new set of rules for screening and evaluating drinking drivers by way of field sobriety tests.
Dr. Burns’ group’s first study was reported to NHTSA in 1977, but the research work by Burns for the 1977 study actually began in 1975. Her methodology was to conduct a literature search of related police field test materials to see what types of roadside tests were being “taught.” As part of this phase, she rode with police officers in various jurisdictions across the USA to develop a list of currently-used tests. Eventually, she came up with sixteen (16) tests that she identified as potential field sobriety tests. Then, the next phase of this research was to look at the six (6) best field sobriety tests, in order to evaluate these for their reliability, safety and ease of being instructed and scored at the roadside.
The 1977 Laboratory Study of Six Field Sobriety Tests conducted by Marcelline Burns and her Cohorts
Using those tests, SCRI conducted some initial, limited research on police sobriety tests with a small group of people, and (after evaluating safety and ease-of-instruction criteria), narrowed the longer list of 16 possible field tests down to six (6) tests to be evaluated in the 1977 study. The goal here was to see which field sobriety test evaluations proved to have the best correlation to identifying drivers whose BAC level was 0.10 grams percent or more. Like with ALL other NHTSA-sponsored field sobriety test studies, NONE were ever correlated to DRIVING “impairment.”
This first controlled study involved 238 drinking subjects and ten (10) police officers. The study took about one year to finish. The upshot of the 1977 SCRI study was the recommendation by Burns and company for the use of three (3) of the six (6) “finalists” roadside tests, namely, the walk-and-turn evaluation, the one-leg stand evaluation, and the horizontal gaze nystagmus “eye” test evaluation, or the HGN test. Following terminology used at that time, the HGN test was referred to in the SCRI report as “alcohol gaze nystagmus test”).
The other tests used in the study were the frequently-used finger-to-nose touching test while eyes were closed, the finger count test, where a person uses his or her thumb to touch the fingertips of the same hand, and count forward and backward “1-2-3-4 and then 4-3-2-1”, and the tracing of a circle on paper test. A modified Romberg test, the alphabet recital test and subtraction tests were also interchangeably used during these preliminary phases of the 1977 study, since these police sobriety tests had been popular with police officers.
The California residents selected as subjects for the research were licensed drivers and were also alcohol consumers. No teetotalers were tested. Significantly, the test subjects were not screened for prescribed drugs, nor illegal drugs, and the physical conditions of the subjects such as height, weight and medical limitations were not documented. The participants were instructed to fast (not eat) for four hours or more before they were given measured doses of alcohol. The purpose here was to be able to dose the subjects with measured amounts of alcohol and reach a predictable peak alcohol BAC level at about the same time. But, the participants in the field sobriety tests did not know the amount of alcohol that they were consuming. Each study participant, after consuming alcohol, was given a portable breath test on a preliminary breathalyzer device to determine their BAC level, and then each participant was subjected to the six field sobriety tests mentioned above.
The 1977 study concluded that the modified Romberg test and the finger-to-nose test merely reflected the presence of alcohol, but did not increase the predictive ability of this field sobriety testing. In other words, the finger-to-nose and Romberg test did not add anything to the predictability of a subject’s level of intoxication. It is also interesting to note that in this 1977 study NONE of these field sobriety tests were recommended by Burns and company for use as roadside sobriety tests. That recommendation to NOT USE as roadside evaluations includes the finger count exercise, the finger-to-nose while eyes closed exercise, the modified Romberg test (where a test subject is asked to lean his or her head back while standing erect, close the subject’s eyes, and then silently estimate the passage of 30 seconds), the regular A to Z alphabet recitation test (not the bastardized, non-consistent, confusing versions given by many law enforcement officers who make up their own “tests” (such as saying, “I want you to recite the alphabet starting with the letter E – echo — to the letter V – victor, without singing it), and the circle tracing on paper test.
Nevertheless, these extra, useless and misleading so-called “tests” are sometimes requested by police officers to be performed by unsuspecting citizens as “add-ons” in order to gather even more possible unfavorable performances on audio and video, so that a jury will convict the person. Rogue police officers know that they get away with such antics in many states, and neither state police “standards” or prosecutors handling the cases will admit the uselessness and unproven reliability of these evaluations.
Astonishingly, the finger count sobriety test evaluation that was eliminated early by Burns and company as being UNRELIABLE has been resurrected in 2009 by park rangers and nautical “police” patrolling our lakes and waterways and park lands, and the bogus “finger count” evaluation is now used as one of the field sobriety test procedures to determine which boaters will be arrested for BUI. The field tests used to arrest people for boating under the influence are (with the exception of HGN testing) the castoff field sobriety tests that Dr. Burns and her team abandoned over 35 years ago. Plus, the HGN test has been validated on a floating surface, with a moving horizon and an equally moving and shifting field sobriety test “administrator,” such as a Department of Natural Resources officer standing on a rocking and rolling watercraft.
Police officers seeking convictions rather than justice have no qualms about requesting frightened drivers to try to perform these unscientific sobriety tests, and our dysfunctional court system in America ALLOWS it in most states. These facts alone points to the wisdom of NOT ever attempting ANY field sobriety tests — on land or in the water. Plus, guess who was paid to conduct the 1993 research on BUI tests that and claimed that these sobriety tests could be performed while seated? Dr. Burns and her company! Ironically, these “police sobriety tests” were declared unreliable by Burns in the earlier, controlled studies.
The 1981 Study and getting new data on the Three Standardized Field Sobriety Tests
The 1977 sobriety test study recommended further review (or “we need more federal money”), and NHTSA once more awarded the Southern California Research Institute a contract to conduct new testing in order to try to shore up and bolster the dismally poor standardization numbers. Significantly, instead of six types of field sobriety tests, the study was now whinnied down to the three SFST evaluations first released in 1984, and which are still being used today. However, the manuals used by police to learn field sobriety test procedures have been altered and re-written about a DOZEN times, most recently in October of 2015. That is the HGN (horizontal gaze nystagmus), the WAT (walk and turn) and the OLS (one leg stand) roadside field evaluations.
This second “laboratory” study involved some changes in the AGES of the test subjects and some changes in the array for the bracketing of test subjects (by age groups). Plus, big changes to the numbers of totally alcohol-free test subjects was made, and the amount of ethanol that the dosed subjects received. These changes helped the researchers get BETTER “reliability” numbers in their 1981 study, by simply being smarter about setting up the testing. So, while the three field sobriety tests settled upon MAY be the “best available” roadside agility and psycho-physical sobriety tests, by altering the array of dosed subjects, the age bracketing and the number of alcohol-free test subjects, the two studies cannot be said to be demographically identical. See this discussion below from one of Allen Trapp’s seminar speeches.
So, in the 1981 study only the three test battery was used. The 1981 study, like the 1977 study, was done only in a laboratory setting, except for a handful of experiments conducted at the end of the study. Burns states that the law enforcement officers again made their decisions to arrest or not to arrest based on the prediction that the subject’s BAC was over or under a 0.10. A total of 296 subjects were involved in the 1981 study.
Furthermore, some additional “divided attention” scoring components were added to the field sobriety test guidelines in midstream during the 1981 study. Again, the 1977 protocols and methodology and the 1981 “adjustments” make the two laboratory studies like comparing “apples to oranges” in some aspects. For example, Burns describes a divided attention component of the walk and turn sobriety test as the portion of the test wherein the subject is requested to stand with one foot in front of the other on the line, while listening to the instructions. This is also referred to as the “instructional phase”.
The standardization aspect of the 1981 field sobriety test study was to establish consistency in the administration guidelines, the instructions, the demonstrations, and the scoring. The objective was to ensure that if an officer in Florida does the three-test field sobriety test battery, and an officer in Oregon also does the identical FST tests, the two officers should do it the same way and reach the same conclusions (assuming the same dosed subject was being evaluated. The order in which the tests were given was considered by Dr. Burns to be irrelevant. Yet, all police training manuals call for the administration of the HGN evaluation FIRST, then the WAT and then the OLS.
In the 1981 study, out of 118 decisions by the officers to arrest after administering field sobriety tests, 32 percent of them were wrong. (Source: 1981 report, page 27, Table 8). This is only slightly better than the 1977 study which had a 47 percent error rate of false arrests. Also, in the 1981 study, 18 percent of the subjects who had no alcohol in their system were misjudged by the officers to be “over the legal limit,” (Source: 1981 report, page 22, Table 4) Dr. Burns attempted to explain the horrific reliability numbers from the earlier studies. Without admitting the shoddiness of her methodology, she wrote that because she and her team made no effort to screen the test subjects for drugs that these people may have been impaired on substances other than alcohol.
This pathetic attempt to bolster her three sobriety test battery is a clear admission of sloppiness in setting up and proceeding with a federally-funded project with far-reaching implications for the public. Maybe the federal government should request reimbursement of these wasted funds, and invalidate the entire study, since none of the subjects, including those who had ingested alcohol, had been screened for drugs before drinking. Also omitted from the boasts of “reliability” were the false positives rendered by officers in the 1981 study, where these officers incorrectly judged 31 percent of the people tested at a 0.05 BAC to be impaired, when most states have enacted statutes that provide that an adult driver whose BAC level is 0.05 or less is presumed to NOT be impaired.
Dr. Greg Kane, MD, of Colorado has summarized the deception and intentional misinformation that has been spawned by these so-called “studies:”
- Studies arranged by NHTSA
- Research contractors picked by NHTSA
- Research contractors paid by NHTSA
- No financial disclosure
- Research results published by NHTSA in-house, without outside peer review
- No review by an independent biostatistician. As far as I can tell, no review by anystatistician
In the USA, governments convict people of DUI crimes using pseudo-medical “science” based on secret data that was not originally subject to outside peer review and cannot now be examined by the defendant—or anyone else.
Source: From Dr. Greg Kane, MD at his website: www.sfst.us
Another very important point needs to be made. As opposed to all other subsequent field sobriety validation studies and field testing done by Burns and others for NHTSA, no other field sobriety test study or report was later conducted under controlled (laboratory) supervision— except the 1981 and the 1977 study. This is very significant, since REAL scientists totally discount and give little or no credibility to any “reports”, validation studies or other published data that falsely claims to have been done under scientific standards. See some of these critics’ reports at the end of this article.
Specifically, the purpose of undergoing later so-called “validation studies” was to try to accommodate critics who pointed out that the numbers obtained in the 1977 and 1981 laboratory work was to predict those who were at 0.10 grams percent or higher. The national BAC level was being lowered in many states to 0.08 grams percent. Under President Bill Clinton’s administration, this became mandatory (to lower their BAC level) for states to obtain certain valuable federal highway funds. So, NHTSA needed to “create” some proof that officers could be as accurate or more accurate at predicting a 0.08 BAC driver. By 2005, every state had lowered its BAC level to 0.08 for adult (age 21 and over) drivers.