Tuesday, August 31, 2010

California DUI Expungment information - Q and A.

California DUI Expungment information - Q and A.

What is Expungement law

Penal Code Section 1203.4:

"[Petitioner shall]...be permitted by the court to withdraw his or her plea of guilty or plea of nolo contendere and enter a plea of not guilty; or, if he or she has been convicted after a plea of not guilty, the court shall set aside the verdict of guilty; and, in either case, the court shall thereupon dismiss the accusations or information against the defendant and except as noted below, he or she shall thereafter be released from all penalties and disabilities resulting from the offense of which he or she has been convicted, except as provided..."

Will I need to go to Court?

No. A California DUI Criminal Defense Attorney can handle all Court work for you.

What about applying for jobs?

* If Private Employers ask if you have every been convicted of a crime, you generally can respond with "NO".

* (Each question is different so please first contact a California DUI criminal defense lawyer before answering any specific question, in every case and for every form.)

* On questions by Government Employers or Government Licensing Applications if you are asked if you have ever been convicted of a crime, you must disclose the expunged case.

What doesn't a DUI Expungement do?

Your dismissed DUI conviction can still be used to increase your punishment in future DUI cases. The offense remains "priorable".

* It can still be used to enhance penalties & increase punishment should you get another DUI.

* It can be used to try to put you in jail or increase the length of a DMV suspension.

Does this erase all records and destroy the Court file?

No. An expungement is the disposition of the case to reflect a dismissal under 1203.4 of the Penal Code. This means the Court file, the California Department of Justice, and the FBI update their files to show the case has been ordered dismissed by the Court.

Monday, August 30, 2010

San Diego California DUI Checkpoint & Drunk Driving Enforcement Campaign Press Release -upcoming weekend, summer update, checkpoint warning link

PRESS RELEASE
For Immediate Release August 30, 2010

SUMMER/LABOR DAY AVOID DUI ENFORCEMENT CAMPAIGN
DUI Arrests Are Up While DUI Fatalities Are Down

The Summer/Labor Day National Anti-DUI crackdown has resulted in a significant number of DUI arrests from local routine traffic enforcement and special Avoid the 14 DUI deployments overnight in San Diego County.

San Diego DUI Sheriff's Department just announced a Poway DUI checkpoint for Friday September 3rd.

From 12:01 AM Friday August 20 , 2010 through Midnight Sunday August 29, 2010 officers representing 14 county law enforcement agencies have arrested and booked into custody 570 individuals for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. In 2009 548 DUI arrests and bookings occurred during the same ten (10) day time period.

So far this year there have been two fatal DUI related collisions; one in Santee and the other in San Diego.
Fatal collisions are down from the same enforcement period last year. In 2009, there were seven total fatalities
reported.

(**NOTE: These numbers are only provisional with some agencies yet to report**)
Over the course of the next several days of the campaign there are no special operations planned until next
weekend, all regularly scheduled traffic and patrol officers will focus efforts at stopping and arresting DUI
drivers during their normal shifts.
Police, Sheriff and the CHP encourage all motorists to help make your community safer: Report Drunk Drivers – Call 911. Funding for this program is provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety,
through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
DUI arrest data collection will continue through Labor Day midnight Monday, September 6, 2010.

For regular San Diego Attorney Blog and Southern California DUI Checkpoint information, visit this special site.

In every California DUI case where the officer took your license OR issued a pink temporary order of suspension, the DMV attempts to suspend

In every California DUI case where the officer took your license OR issued a pink temporary order of suspension, the DMV attempts to administratively punish you by suspending your privilege to operate a motor vehicle in California.

California DUI lawyers can save licenses at DUI - DMV hearings. California drunk driving attorneys understand California's applicable administrative laws.

You, or preferably your California DUI defense attorney, must call, write or fax California DMV requesting a DMV hearing within 10 calendar days of your drunk driving arrest.

Here's 10 simple things to remember:

10. If you need to save your driver's license or privileges, your attorney has only ten (10) calendar days to contact DMV!



Do not schedule yourself. If you contact DMV to schedule a date conflicting with your attorney's calendar, DMV will not reschedule and you may not get the attorney of your choice. There is no rush as long as your attorney contacts DMV by the 10th day from your arrest.



9. The ten (10) day time limit is computed from the Issue date of the SUSPENSION/REVOCATION ORDER AND TEMPORARY DRIVER LICENSE. If time is running out or you are late, contact an attorney ASAP.



8. This ADMINISTRATIVE PER SE SUSPENSION/REVOCATION ORDER AND TEMPORARY DRIVER LICENSE is the California DMV paper which you should have received.



7. Even if you did not receive this DMV paper, the California DMV will probably take action against your driving privileges.



6. Even if you have a license from another state, and even if the officer did not take your license, that state may also take action against your driving privileges.



5. This TEMPORARY DRIVER LICENSE ENDORSEMENT is valid for only thirty (30) days from the issue date.



If a DMV hearing is requested within ten (10) days, your DMV TEMPORARY will be extended & there will be a stay (delay) of any suspension until the outcome of your DMV hearing is determined.



4. Do not confuse this initial 30 day TEMPORARY DRIVER LICENSE with your court date!

The DMV and criminal proceedings are separate and independent. The outcome of one almost never affects the other. Sometimes the officer or the DMV paper confuses or misleads you to believe that the TEMPORARY DRIVER LICENSE is good "until the court date". If there are approximately thirty (30) days from your arrest date to your court date, this may just be a dangerous coincidence. There usually are months before your DMV hearing takes place.



3. There are three (3) issues at the hearing if you completed a chemical test. (See reverse side of DMV paper.)



Issues are whether the officer had probable cause to stop or contact you or whether the chemical test evidence is beatable.



2. The DMV has the burden of proof to prevail on all three (3) issues. If DMV meets the burden of proof on two (2) issues, you win!



1. All a DMV attorney has to do is knock out one (1) DMV issue to save your license & you avoid any reissue fee and/or Proof of Insurance SR-22 filing!






Video of San Diego DUI / DMV Attorney

Sunday, August 29, 2010

California DUI or drunk driving arrest? California DUI attorneys are available to defend your California drunk driving case

California DUI or drunk driving arrest? California DUI attorneys are available to defend your California drunk driving case.



Your first California DUI arrest may be the best opportunity for your California DUI defense lawyer to aggressively defend and to request a reduced California DUI sentencing. Retaining top California drunk driving legal representation will ensure any necessary bail posting as soon as possible to reduce initial California jail time.



A high quality California DUI defense attorney will investigate all San Diego drunk driving arrests to ensure that the client’s legal rights were preserved and the San Diego county police officer following proper California procedure.



If your California DUI criminal lawyer checks for an illegal action of the police officer so it could be grounds for California DUI case dismissal.



Even if all proper California procedures were done, your California DUI attorney will nonetheless defend your California drunk driving case.



A

Superb-rated

California DUI criminal defense attorney will provide the most thorough investigation and professional handling of your case from start to finish.





Properly defend your California DUI case and give you the best chance to get back to your life, it is important to seek California DUI legal representation immediately.



There to protect your legal rights and reduce penalties to the minimum, your California DUI criminal defense lawyer will keep you advised every step of the way.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Lady on Cell Phone rams into DUI Checkpoint in Northern California.

Lady using cell phone while driving arrested for a California DUI. She rams into a car at roadblock. No one has confirmed yet if she was on a California DUI checkpoint website looking for which drunk driving roadblocks to avoid at the time - California Drunk Driving checkpoint updates.

California DUI checkpoint cops were interrogating another driver a couple of nights agao at a California drunk driving checkpoint in Fresno when this lady starts speeding toward them with no car lights.

She was on her cell phone. Cops do not yet know if she was texting or calling someone on her phone before being arrested for a California DUI.

For more details, visit here.

Bill to governor Schwarzenegger that would let judges have the authority to revoke a driver’s license for repeat Cal DUI offenders for up to 10 years!

A new California DUI bill to governor Schwarzenegger that would let judges have the authority to revoke a driver’s license for repeat DUI offenders for up to 10 years, criminal defense attorneys just learned.

AB 1601 states that a person can have their license revoked for ten years if they have three or more DUI convictions in California within a ten year period. Schwarzenegger's camp supports this California drunk driving bill. Criminal Defense lawyers suspect he may sign it within the next thirty days.

Jail Transporting Peace Officer Arrested for California Felony DUI

August 28, 2010 Drunk Driving News Flash

A Bakersfield area, California detentions deputy has been accused of DUI after she allegedly ran into a pole with two inmates. California Highway Patrol picked up a drunk driving report of an accident in the parking lot of Kern County Jail.

A California DUI officer found the deputy allegedly exhibiting signs of intoxication at the scene of the collision. A California DUI investigation opined she was drunk or DUI.

Allegedly because of her level of intoxication, her vehicle hitting a concrete base of a light pole at 25 mph.

Get this. The arrested cop was transporting two inmates at the time of the crash. Both received minor injuries and were treated.

Friday, August 27, 2010

What is a wet and reckless or wet reckless anyway? California DUI attorneys explain this wet reckless reduced from a DUI

In California people sometimes refer to a Wet Reckless or Wet & Reckless Charge.

Based on California Vehicle Code Section 23103 per 23103.5, California DUI criminal defense lawyers explain it is an alcohol-related reckless driving (no recklessness ordinarily is involved).

This came about when California MADD convinced the legislature that too many "drunk drivers" were "getting of4" because California DUI criminal defense attorneys, City Attorneys / District Attorneys and/or California DUI courts were letting folks plead to ordinary reckless driving which did not count as a prior, did not have mandatory jail, etc. That all changed. Contact a lawyer for further information.

California DUI breath estimators may be inaccurate as unreliable design reveals defects exposed by criminal defense attorneys

California DUI breath estimators may be inaccurate. Unreliable design has revealed defects exposed by criminal defense attorneys. Drunk Driving machines in California are not specific for alcohol in that they do not actually measure alcohol.

Because of their designed infrared interpretation, California DUI lawyers have showed the estimators report hundreds of non-alcohol compounds as "alcohol".

California DUI breath estimators attempt measure alcohol on one's breath. Its computer then multiplies the reading 2100 times to get a reading of alcohol in the blood. An amount of alcohol in the blood is greatly reduced as it crosses from the blood into the alveolar sacs of one's lungs and into one's breath. An average human has 2100 times more alcohol in his blood than in his breath. This theory varies tremendously among folks, yet another defect in these DUI estimators.

If alcohol in the breath sample did not come from one's lungs - and instead came from one's mouth or throat, then it will not have been processed through one's body, into the blood and then out through the lungs. The alcohol then will not have been reduced 2100 times. Yet the drunk driving estimator always multiplies it 2100 times.

Alcohol stays in the tissue of the oral cavity or esophagus for, at a minimum, 15 minutes until diluted and flushed down into the stomach by saliva. A person who drinks right before driving California roads, before being tested, could affect the estimator.

Alcohol trapped in one's dentures or gum cavities could also affect the DUI estimator.

A slight regurgitation of gas, burp, or belch within 15 minutes before taking the test sends up alcohol from alcohol in one's stomach into his mouth and esophagus, also affecting the estimator.

GERD, GastroEsophageal Reflux Disease" prompts "acid reflux", commonly experienced as heartburn, could also affect the dui estimator.

Acid reflux is usually caused by a "hiatal hernia", damage to the pyloric valve separating the stomach from the esophagus. When the valve cannot close completely, then liquids and gasses from the stomach can rise into the throat and oral cavity, to remain there until once again flushed back down.

Because acid reflux can be caused by stress, it is commonly experienced by those kind of folks stopped by California police officers for suspicion of DUI. Performing acrobatics or gymnastics magnify the stressful / acid reflux condition.

Alcohol in one's stomach rises into and permeates one's mouth and throat. Then the alcohol becomes mixed with breath passing from one's lungs through the throat and mouth and into the California DUI estimator.

Because alcohol is being multiplied by the machine 2100 times, a tiny, invisible amount of absorbed alcohol erroneously is read as a falsely elevated result.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

California Drunk Driving Attorney offers hassle-free San Diego California DUI help for San Diego California DUI court and San Diego California DMV

California DUI Lawyer information starting with a Free San Diego County Drunk Driving Defense Survey

at this online DUI & DMV defense survey site

. Research your best approach. Get back your driver's license in California.

California Drunk Driving Attorney offers hassle-free San Diego California DUI help for San Diego California DUI court and San Diego California DMV. DUI Attorney Rick Mueller enjoys a perfect "10" out of "10" Avvo.com Superb Rating. He is a top San Diego California Drunk Driving Lawyer, San Diego California DUI & San Diego California DMV Defense Attorney with over 27 years of experience. A California DUI - DMV Guru, San Diego California DUI Lawyer Rick Mueller devotes all of his San Diego DUI law practice to aggressively defending those accused of San Diego DUI.

On August 1, 2009, Rick lectured at the

Annual DUI Seminar

in connection with the American Bar Association at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles. The California criminal defense lawyers who attended indicated to the President of the California DUI Lawyers Association that San Diego California DUI criminal defense lawyer Rick Mueller's presentation and materials were excellent.

San Diego California Criminal Defense Attorney Rick Mueller spoke at the prestigious California Attorneys For Criminal Justice

A Day in the Desert with the DUI Experts - Annual DUI seminar

.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

California DUI Criminal Defense Lawyer with 27 years of experience

San Diego County DUI Law Center's Drunk Driving Attorney for those accused of a San Diego California DUI offers San Diego DUI help for San Diego DUI court and San Diego DMV.
San Diego DUI Attorney Rick Mueller is a Top-Rated San Diego Drunk Driving Lawyer, San Diego DUI & DMV Defense Attorney with over 27 years of experience. Known as a California DUI - DMV Guru, San Diego DUI Lawyer Rick Mueller dedicates 100% of his San Diego DUI law practice to aggressively defending those accused of San Diego Driving Under the Influence.
Start at www.SanDiegoDUI.com/survey for your best San Diego DUI defense attorney strategy and to vigorously protect your important driving privilege, as has been done for many good people who necessarily become Clients.



Contact a San Diego California DUI Criminal Defense Lawyer twit:
San'>http://blog.sandiegoduihelp.com/">San Diego Drunk Driving Blog

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Legal Considerations to legitimately attack unreliable, untrustworthy, improper & inadmissible California DUI chemical test results - defense attorney

Legal Considerations to legitimately attack unreliable, untrustworthy, improper & inadmissible California DUI chemical test results, as used by California drunk driving criminal defense attorneys:

Health & Safety C. §100700 (formerly §436.50) authorizes the Department of Health Services to enact regulations relating to breath, blood and urine alcohol testing. These regulations appear in Title 17 of the California Code of Regulations (Cal. C. of Regs.).

The failure to follow the requirements of Cal. C. of Regs., Title 17, does not automatically result in the inadmissibility of the chemical test result. Rather, such failure usually goes to the weight to be given the evidence by the finder of fact. People v. Williams (2002) 28 C4th 408; People v. Adams (1976) 59 CA3d 559, 131 CR 190; People v. French (1978) 77 CA3d 511, 143 CR 782; People v. Rawlings (1974) 42 CA3d 952, 117 CR 651; CALJIC's 12.61 & 12.61.1

Adams does exclude the evidence if there was not only a failure to follow Title 17, but also no other scientific foundation for it. Coombs v. Pierce (1991) 1 CA4th 568, 2 CR2d 249; and Coniglio v. DMV (1995) 39 CA4th 666, 46 CR2d 123.

If you have any evidence of any sort that proper procedures were not followed, you are entitled to the second paragraph of either CALJIC 12.61 or 12.61.1. They both read:

The failure, if any, to follow the regulations adopted by the California State Department of Health for procedures to be used in administering tests to determine the concentration of alcohol in a person's blood may be considered by you in determining the accuracy of the test or test results made in this case.


Administrative regulations are the proper subject of jury instructions when they cover the relevant law (Hyde v. Russell & Russell (1959) 176 CA2d 578, 1 CR 631; Miles v. Alexis (1981) 118 CA3d 555, 173 CR 473).

Form 9-4 is an instruction that allows you to state the appropriate language from Cal. C. of Regs., Title 17, that is alleged to have been violated. That is followed by the second paragraph from CALJIC 12.61.

Monday, August 23, 2010

California DUI law applies to two separate cases: a DUI or drunk driving court case and a California Department of Motor Vehicles cases & 2 charges

California DUI law applies to two separate cases: a DUI or drunk driving court case and a California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) case.

When drivers are arrested for drunk driving in California, a minimum of two charges usually have to be dealt with:

a) California DUI - "under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs" b) driving with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08 percent or higher.

California Department of Motor Vehicles DUI case, where the California DMV will attempt to suspend the motorist's driving privileges.

If you have been arrested for California DUI / DWI, it is vital that you act quickly to protect your driver's license. You have only 10 days from the date of arrest to request a DUI DMV Administrative Per Se (APS) hearing with the California DMV.

10. If you need to save your driver's license or privileges, your attorney has only ten (10) calendar days to contact DMV!



Do not schedule yourself. If you contact DMV to schedule a date conflicting with your attorney's calendar, DMV will not reschedule and you may not get the attorney of your choice. There is no rush as long as your attorney contacts DMV by the 10th day from your arrest.



9. The ten (10) day time limit is computed from the Issue date of the SUSPENSION/REVOCATION ORDER AND TEMPORARY DRIVER LICENSE. If time is running out or you are late, contact an attorney ASAP.



8. This ADMINISTRATIVE PER SE SUSPENSION/REVOCATION ORDER AND TEMPORARY DRIVER LICENSE is the California DMV paper which you should have received.



7. Even if you did not receive this DMV paper, the California DMV will probably take action against your driving privileges.



6. Even if you have a license from another state, and even if the officer did not take your license, that state may also take action against your driving privileges.



5. This TEMPORARY DRIVER LICENSE ENDORSEMENT is valid for only thirty (30) days from the issue date.



If a DMV hearing is requested within ten (10) days, your DMV TEMPORARY will be extended & there will be a stay (delay) of any suspension until the outcome of your DMV hearing is determined.



4. Do not confuse this initial 30 day TEMPORARY DRIVER LICENSE with your court date!

The DMV and criminal proceedings are separate and independent. The outcome of one almost never affects the other. Sometimes the officer or the DMV paper confuses or misleads you to believe that the TEMPORARY DRIVER LICENSE is good "until the court date". If there are approximately thirty (30) days from your arrest date to your court date, this may just be a dangerous coincidence. There usually are months before your DMV hearing takes place.



3. There are three (3) issues at the hearing if you completed a chemical test. (See reverse side of DMV paper.)



Issues are whether the officer had probable cause to stop or contact you or whether the chemical test evidence is beatable.



2. The DMV has the burden of proof to prevail on all three (3) issues. If DMV meets the burden of proof on two (2) issues, you win!



1. All a DMV attorney has to do is knock out one (1) DMV issue to save your license & you avoid any reissue fee and/or Proof of Insurance SR-22 filing!






Click on below sites for more information or to contact a San Diego DUI Lawyer who can help:

San Diego DUI

Sunday, August 22, 2010

La Mesa CA California DUI/Drunk Driving Checkpoint blog - 4600 70th St.

August 21, 2010 / 8:00 pm to 2:00 am
California DUI/Drunk Driving Checkpoint blog update:

California DUI/Drunk Driving Checkpoint at 4600 Block of 70th Street, La Mesa, CA
Drunk Driving saw a huge front line of California DUI/Drunk Driving Checkpoint deputies from the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department, San Diego County Probation, and officers from the La Mesa Police, Harbor Police, and the Alcohol Beverage Control.

This multi-agency California DUI/Drunk Driving Checkpoint checkpoint is a part of the county-wide AVOID the 14 DUI campaign. The AVOID campaign is committed to making the roadways in San Diego County safer for everyone.

796 vehicles drove through the California DUI/Drunk Driving Checkpoint. The operation resulted in 3 DUI arrests, 2 possession of drug arrest, 8 citations were issued to unlicensed drivers and 2 vehicles impounded and their drivers arrested for driving on suspended licenses.

Funding for this California DUI/Drunk Driving Checkpoint program was provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

The national Drunk Driving Over the Limit Under Arrest crackdown is led by NHTSA and the California Avoid DUI Task Force Campaign combining high-visibility enforcement with heightened public awareness through publicity and multiple California DUI/Drunk Driving Checkpoints.

For current news about San Diego & Southern California DUI/Drunk Driving Checkpoints, visit this twit.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

VALIDATION OF THE STANDARDIZED FIELD SOBRIETY TEST BATTERY AT BACS BELOW 0.10 PERCENT - U.S. DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION NHTSA

VALIDATION OF THE STANDARDIZED FIELD SOBRIETY TEST
BATTERY AT BACS BELOW 0.10 PERCENT
FINAL REPORT
Submitted to:
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
NATIONAL HIGHWAY TRAFFIC SAFETY ADMINISTRATION
Jack Stuster
Marcelline Burns
August 1998
ANACAPA SCIENCES, INC.
P.O. Box 519
Santa Barbara, California 93102
--ii--
[Blank Page]
Technical Report Documentation Page
--iii--
1. Report No. 2. Government Accession No. 3. Recipient’s Catalog No.
DOT HS ?
4. Title and Subtitle 5. Report Date
Validation of the Standardized Field Sobriety Test Battery at August 1998
BACs Below 0.10 Percent
7. Author(s) 6. Performing Organization Code: n/a
Jack W. Stuster, PhD, CPE, and Marcelline Burns, PhD 8. Performing Organization Report No. n/a
9. Performing Organization Name and Address 10. Work Unit No. (TRAIS)
Anacapa Sciences, Inc.
P.O. Box 519 11. Contract or Grant No.
Santa Barbara, CA 93102 DTNH22-95-C-05192
12. Sponsoring Agency Name and Address 13. Type of Report and Period Covered
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Final Report
400 Seventh Street, SW
Washington, D.C. 20590
15. Supplemental Notes 14. Sponsoring Agency Code
James F. Frank, PhD was the Contracting Officer’s Technical
Represenative (COTR) for this project.
16. Abstract
This study evaluated the accuracy of the Standardized Field Sobriety Test (SFST) Battery to assist officers in
making arrest decisions for DWI at blood alcohol concentrations (BACs) below 0.10 percent. NHTSA’s SFST battery
was validated at 0.10 percent BAC in 1981. The trend to reduce statutory DWI limits to 0.08 percent BAC prompted
this research project.
The research was composed of several project tasks, including planning, site-selection, training, data entry, and
data analysis, in addition to the actual conduct of a major field study. The City of San Diego, California, was selected
as the site. Seven officers of the San Diego Police Department’s alcohol enforcement unit were trained in the
administration and modified scoring of NHTSA’s SFST battery (i.e., Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus-HGN, Walk and Turn,
and One Leg Stand). SFST scoring was adjusted: the observation of four HGN clues indicated a BAC ³0.08 percent
(rather than four clues indicating a BAC ³0.10 percent), and the observation of two HGN clues indicated a BAC
³0.04 percent. During routine patrols, the participating officers followed study procedures in administering SFSTs
and completing a data collection form for each test administered. The officers’ final step in each case was the
administration of an evidentiary breath alcohol test.
Data analysis found the SFSTs to be extremely accurate in discriminating between BACs above and below 0.08
percent. The mean estimated and measured BACs of the 297 motorists tested were 0.117 and 0.122, respectively;
the difference between the means (0.005 percent BAC) is very small and operationally irrelevant. Further, analyses
found the HGN test to be the most predictive of the three components of the SFST battery (r=0.65), however a
higher correlation was obtained when the results of all three tests were combined (r=0.69).
Decision analyses found that officers’ estimates of whether a motorist’s BAC was above or below 0.08 or 0.04
percent were extremely accurate. Estimates at the 0.08 level were accurate in 91 percent of the cases, or as high as
94 percent if explanations for some of the false positives are accepted. Officers’ estimates of whether a motorist’s
BAC was above 0.04 percent but lower than 0.08 percent were accurate in 94 percent of the decisions to arrest and
in 80 percent of cases overall. Also, the officers and prosecutors who were interviewed about the SFSTs found the
test battery to be acceptable for field use to establish probable cause for DWI arrest.
The results of this study provide clear evidence of the validity of the Standardized Field Sobriety Test Battery to
discriminate at 0.08 percent BAC, using a slightly modified scoring procedure. Further, study results strongly
suggest that the SFSTs also accurately discriminate at 0.04 percent BAC.
17. Key Words 18. Distribution Statement
DWI, DUI, detection, field sobriety, performance tests,
alcohol, law enforcement, highway safety
19. Security Classif. (of this report) 20. Security Classif. (of this page) 21. No. of Pages 22. Price
Unclassified Unclassified
-- iv --
[Blank Page]
Final Report
Validation of the SFST Battery at BACs Below 0.10 Percent
-- v --
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
This report documents the research activities and presents the results of a
study conducted for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)
to evaluate the accuracy of the Standardized Field Sobriety Test (SFST) Battery to
assist officers in making arrest decisions and to discriminate blood alcohol
concentrations (BACs) below 0.10 percent. NHTSA’s SFST battery was validated at
0.10 percent BAC in 1981. The trend to reduce statutory DWI limits to 0.08 percent
BAC prompted this research project.
DESCRIPTION OF THE RESEARCH
The research was composed of several project tasks, including planning, siteselection,
training, data entry, and data analysis, in addition to the actual conduct of
a major field study. The City of San Diego, California, was selected as the site of the
field study. Seven officers of the San Diego Police Department’s alcohol enforcement
unit were trained in the administration and modified scoring of NHTSA’s SFST
battery (i.e., Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus, Walk and Turn, and One Leg Stand). SFST
scoring was changed slightly: the observation of four horizontal gaze nystagmus
(HGN) clues indicated a BAC ³0.08 percent (rather than four clues indicating a BAC
³0.10 percent), and the observation of two HGN clues indicated a BAC ³0.04 percent.
During routine patrols, the participating officers followed study procedures in
administering SFSTs and completing a data collection form for each test
administered during the study period. The officers’ final step in each case was the
administration of an evidentiary breath alcohol test.
RESULTS
The participating officers completed a total of 298 data collection forms; only
one case was eliminated from analysis because the motorist refused all forms of
BAC testing. Data analysis found the SFSTs to be extremely accurate in
discriminating between BACs above and below 0.08 percent. The mean estimated
and measured BACs of the 297 motorists tested were 0.117 and 0.122, respectively;
the difference between the means (0.005 percent BAC) is very small and
operationally irrelevant. Further, analyses found the HGN test to be the most
predictive of the three components of the SFST battery (r=0.65), however a higher
correlation was obtained when the results of all three tests were combined (r=0.69).
The results of decision analyses provide clear indication of SFST accuracy.
Decision analyses found that officers’ estimates of whether a motorist’s BAC was
above or below 0.08 or 0.04 percent were extremely accurate. Estimates at the 0.08
level were accurate in 91 percent of the cases, or as high as 94 percent if explanations
for some of the false positives are accepted. Officers’ estimates of whether a
motorist’s BAC was above 0.04 but under 0.08 were accurate in 94 percent of the
decisions to arrest and in 80 percent of the relevant cases, overall.
Final Report
Validation of the SFST Battery at BACs Below 0.10 Percent
-- vi --
Finally, the officers and prosecutors who were interviewed about the SFSTs
found the test battery to be fully acceptable for field use to establish probable cause
for DWI arrest.
IMPLICATIONS
The results of this study provide clear evidence of the validity of the
Standardized Field Sobriety Test Battery to discriminate above or below 0.08 percent
BAC, using a slightly modified scoring procedure. Further, study results strongly
suggest that the SFSTs also accurately discriminate above or below 0.04 percent BAC.
Final Report
Validation of the SFST Battery at BACs Below 0.10 Percent
-- vii --
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Page
INTRODUCTION....................................................................................................................... 1
Background..................................................................................................................... 1
THE RESEARCH ....................................................................................................................... 5
Task 1: Refined Work Plan........................................................................................... 5
Task 2: Specified SFSTs and Revised Procedures..................................................... 5
Task 3: Selected and Recruited Law Enforcement Agency..................................... 5
Task 4: Conducted the Field Validation Study......................................................... 9
Tasks 5 and 6: Analyzed Data and Prepared Final Report...................................... 14
RESULTS ................................................................................................................................ 15
Evaluation of SFST Accuracy....................................................................................... 15
Comparison of Means.............................................................................................. 15
Correlation Analyses................................................................................................ 17
Decision Analyses..................................................................................................... 18
Evaluation of SFST Acceptability................................................................................ 23
IMPLICATIONS .......................................................................................................................... 25
How Accurately Do the Tests Discriminate?............................................................ 25
Which of the Components of the SFST Battery Is/Are the Best Predictors?..... 26
How Reliable, or Consistent, Are the Tests?............................................................. 26
Are the Tests Usable By Officers? Are They Accepted by Officers and
Prosecutors?.................................................................................................................... 27
Conclusions..................................................................................................................... 28
REFERENCES............................................................................................................................ 29
APPENDIX A: STANDARDIZED FIELD SOBRIETY TESTING..................................................... 31
Final Report
Validation of the SFST Battery at BACs Below 0.10 Percent
-- viii --
LIST OF TABLES
Table Page
1 COMPONENTS OF THE FIELD EXPERIMENT PLAN......................................................... 9
2 ESTIMATED ANDMEASURED BAC BY AGE CATEGORY ............................................ 15
3 ESTIMATED ANDMEASURED BAC BY GENDER......................................................... 16
4 ESTIMATED ANDMEASURED BAC BY DISPOSITION, AGE CATEGORY, AND GENDER 16
5 CORRELATIONS OF SFST SCORES TO ESTIMATED ANDMEASURED BAC.................. 17
6 SUMMARY OF FALSE POSITIVES.................................................................................. 19
7 SUMMARY OF FALSE NEGATIVES............................................................................... 20
FIGURES
Figure Page
1 Fatality rates per million miles traveled in the U.S....................................... 2
2 Sequence of major project tasks.......................................................................... 5
3 Data collection form used in the validation study......................................... 12
4 Decision matrix at 0.08 percent BAC.................................................................. 18
5 Decision matrices at 0.08 percent BAC for each component test................. 21
6 Venn diagram of 188 cases ³0.08 percent BAC................................................ 22
7 Decision matrix at 0.04 percent BAC.................................................................. 23
Final Report
Validation of the SFST Battery at BACs Below 0.10 Percent
-- ix --
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and Anacapa Sciences,
Inc., are grateful to the managers and officers of the San Diego Police Department for
their cooperation during the performance of this research project. Special thanks to
Officer Doug English, project liaison, and Sergeant Bill Snyder, supervisor of the
Traffic Division’s alcohol-enforcement unit.
Final Report
Validation of the SFST Battery at BACs Below 0.10 Percent
-- x --
Final Report
Validation of the SFST Battery at BACs Below 0.10 Percent
-- 1 --
INTRODUCTION
Beginning in 1975, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
(NHTSA) sponsored research that led to the development of standardized
methods for police officers to use when evaluating motorists who are suspected of
Driving While Impaired (DWI).1 Beginning in 1981, law enforcement officers have
used NHTSA’s Standardized Field Sobriety Test (SFST) battery to help determine
whether motorists who are suspected of DWI have blood alcohol concentrations
(BACs) greater than 0.10 percent. Since that time, many states have implemented
laws that define DWI at BACs below 0.10. This report presents the results of
research performed to systematically evaluate the accuracy of NHTSA’s SFST
battery to discriminate above or below 0.08 percent and above or below 0.04 percent
blood alcohol concentration.
The report is presented in four sections. This brief Introduction presents the
objectives of the research, provides a summary of the relevant traffic safety issues,
and discusses the historical context of the study. The second section of the report
describes the research tasks that were performed. The third section presents the
results of the study. The final section of the report discusses the implications of the
study results.
BACKGROUND
Nearly 1.4 million people have died in traffic crashes in the United States
since 1966, the year of the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act (which
led to the creation of NHTSA in 1970). During the late 1960s and early 1970s more
than 50,000 people lost their lives each year on our nation’s public roads; more
than half of the motorists killed had been drinking. Traffic safety has improved
considerably since that time: the annual death toll has declined to about 40,000,
even though the numbers of drivers, vehicles, and miles driven all have greatly
increased. The dramatic improvements in traffic safety are reflected in the change
in fatality rate per 100 million vehicle miles traveled: The fatality rate fell from 5.5
in 1966 to 1.7 in 1996 (FARS--Fatal Analysis Reporting System--96), a 69 percent
improvement. Figure 1 illustrates this important trend. When miles traveled are
considered, the likelihood of being killed in traffic in 1966 was more than three
times what it is today.
Despite the significant improvements in traffic safety during the past 17
years, an average of more than 115 people still die each day from motor vehicle
crashes in the United States. It is estimated that 41 percent of the drivers who die
in crashes have been drinking.
________________________________
1 Various terms are used throughout the United States for offenses involving drinking and driving. In
this report, Driving While Impaired (DWI) is used to refer to all occurrences of driving at or above
the legal blood alcohol concentratiion (BAC) limit of a jurisdiction.
Final Report
Validation of the SFST Battery at BACs Below 0.10 Percent
-- 2 --
An emphasis on DWI enforcement since 1980 has been a factor in the
significant improvement in traffic safety, as represented by declining fatal and
alcohol-involved crash rates. NHTSA-sponsored research contributed substantially
to the improved condition, in part, by providing patrol officers with useful and
scientifically valid information and training materials concerning the behaviors
that are most predictive of impairment. In particular, NHTSA sponsored research
that led to the development of a DWI detection guide that listed 20 driving cues and
the probabilities that a driver exhibiting a cue would have a BAC of at least 0.10
percent (Harris et al., 1980; Harris, 1980). A similar study was conducted recently that
identified 24 driving cues that are predictive of DWI at the 0.08 level (Stuster, 1997).
NHTSA also sponsored research that led to the development of a motorcycle DWI
detection guide (Stuster, 1993). NHTSA’s DWI training materials, based on the
results of these studies, have exposed the current generation of law enforcement
officers in the U.S. to information critical to DWI enforcement by providing a
systematic, scientifically valid, and defensible approach to on-the-road DWI
detection.
0
1
2
3
4
5
6
1966
1967
1968
1969
1970
1971
1972
1973
1974
1975
1976
1977
1978
1979
1980
1981
1982
1983
1984
1985
1986
1987
1988
1989
1990
1991
1992
1993
1994
1995
Fatality Rate per Million Vehicle Miles Travelled
DWI Detection
Training Begins
SFSTs Are
Introduced
Figure 1. Fatality rates per million miles traveled in the U.S.
At the same time NHTSA was providing patrol officers with information
concerning the driving behaviors that are the most predictive of impairment, the
agency also sponsored research that led to the development of a standardized battery
Final Report
Validation of the SFST Battery at BACs Below 0.10 Percent
-- 3 --
of tests for officers to administer to assess driver impairment after an enforcement
stop has been made. Drs. Marcelline Burns and Herbert Moskowitz conducted
laboratory evaluations of several of the tests that were most frequently-used by law
enforcement officers at the time (Burns and Moskowitz, 1977). In addition to a
variety of customary roadside tests (e.g., finger-to-nose, maze tracing, backward
counting), the researchers evaluated measures of an autonomic reaction to central
nervous system depressants, known as horizontal gaze nystagmus. Horizontal gaze
nystagmus (HGN) is an involuntary jerking of the eye that occurs naturally as the
eyes gaze to the side. Aschan (1958) described studies that linked various forms of
nystagmus to BAC, and Wilkinson, Kime, and Purnell (1974) reported consistent
changes in horizontal gaze nystagmus with increasing doses of alcohol. At the time
Burns and Moskowitz were conducting their seminal research for NHTSA,
horizontal gaze nystagmus recently had been found to reliably predict BACs in a
study conducted in Finland (Pentilla, Tenhu, and Kataja, 1974). Further, Lehti (1976)
had just calculated a strong correlation between BAC and the onset of nystagmus.
All of the field sobriety tests evaluated by Burns and Moskowitz were found
to be sensitive to BAC in varying degrees, at least under laboratory conditions. In
addition, all of the tests showed a consistent increase in correlations with increasing
BACs. Statistical analyses found the horizontal gaze nystagmus test to be the most
predictive of the individual measures. However, the combined scores of three of the
tests (One-Leg Stand, Walk-and-Turn, and Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus) provided a
slightly higher correlation than the horizontal gaze nystagmus test by itself. The
combined score correctly discriminated between BACs below or above 0.10 in 83
percent of the subjects tested in the original study (Burns and Moskowitz, 1977).
NHTSA immediately sponsored a subsequent study to standardize the test
administration and scoring procedures and conduct further laboratory and field
evaluations of the new battery of three tests. The researchers found that police
officers tended to increase their arrest rates and were more effective in estimating
the BACs of stopped drivers after they had been trained in the administration and
scoring of the Standardized Field Sobriety Test battery. The results of this important
study were documented in meticulous detail in the technical report, Development
and Field Test of Psychophysical Tests for DWI Arrest (Tharp, Burns, and
Moskowitz, 1981). That report has been cited throughout the U.S. to establish the
scientific validity of the SFST battery and to support officers’ testimony in court.
NHTSA’s SFST battery is described in Appendix A.
During the past 16 years, NHTSA’s SFSTs largely have replaced the
unvalidated performance tests of unknown merit that once were the patrol officer’s
only tools in helping to make post-stop DWI arrest decisions. Regional and local
preferences for other performance tests still exist, even though some of the tests
have not been validated. Despite regional differences in what tests are used to assist
officers in making DWI arrest decisions, NHTSA’s SFSTs presently are used in all 50
states. NHTSA’s SFSTs have become the standard pre-arrest procedures for
evaluating DWI in most law enforcement agencies.
Final Report
Validation of the SFST Battery at BACs Below 0.10 Percent
-- 4 --
The horizontal gaze nystagmus (HGN) test is considered by many law
enforcement officers to be a foolproof technique (sometimes called a “silver bullet”)
that provides indisputable evidence of alcohol in a motorist’s system. The normal
variation in human physical and cognitive capabilities, and the effects of alcohol
tolerance, result in uncertainties when arrest decisions are made exclusively on the
basis of performance tests. These uncertainties have resulted in large proportions of
DWI suspects being released rather than detained and transported to another
location for evidentiary chemical testing. This is important because experienced
drinkers often can perform physical and cognitive tests acceptably, with a BAC
greater than 0.10 percent. However, most experienced drinkers cannot conceal the
physiological effects of alcohol from an officer skilled in HGN administration. This
is because horizontal gaze nystagmus is an involuntary reaction over which an
individual has absolutely no control.
Final Report
Validation of the SFST Battery at BACs Below 0.10 Percent
-- 5 --
THE RESEARCH
This section provides a detailed description of all tasks performed during the
field validation of the Standardized Field Sobriety Test Battery for use at 0.08 percent
BAC. The technical approach to the research involved the performance of six major
project tasks, as summarized in Figure 2 and described in the following pages.
Task 1:
Refined Work Plan
Task 2:
Specified SFSTs and
Revised Procedures
Task 5:
Entered and Analyzed
Data
Task 6:
Prepared Final
Report
Task 3:
Selected/Recruited LE Agency,
Revised Training Program,
and Conducted Training
Task 4:
Conducted Field
Study
Figure 2. Sequence of major project tasks.
TASK 1: REFINED WORK PLAN
The objectives of the first project task were to meet with the Contracting
Officer’s Technical Representative (COTR) and other NHTSA SFST experts to
discuss the project and to refine the proposed Work Plan based on those discussions.
The project kick-off meeting was held at NHTSA headquarters on 24 October 1995.
Substantive discussions with NHTSA personnel during and following the meeting
contributed to the development of the technical approach described here.
TASK 2: SPECIFIED SFSTS AND REVISED PROCEDURES
Based on the widespread use and acceptance of NHTSA’s Standardized Field
Sobriety Test (SFST) Battery, validated at 0.10 percent BAC, NHTSA sponsored the
current study to evaluate the SFSTs at lower BACs. The only modifications to be
made to the SFSTs would be: 1) for officers to use the exhibition of four clues as an
indication of BACs at the 0.08 level or greater (as officers presently are trained to use
four clues as an indicator of BACs at 0.10 percent or greater), and 2) for officers to use
the exhibition of two HGN clues as an indication of BACs greater than zero, but
below 0.08 percent.
TASK 3: SELECTED AND RECRUITED LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCY AND
CONDUCTED TRAINING
This project task was composed of four subtasks, as described in the following
paragraphs.
Final Report
Validation of the SFST Battery at BACs Below 0.10 Percent
-- 6 --
SUBTASK 3.1: IDENTIFIED SITE SELECTION CRITERIA
The site-selection criteria were:
• Candidate sites must employ lower legal BAC levels (0.08 for adults and zero
tolerance for youth under 21 years).
• Candidate sites must generate a sufficient number of traffic enforcement stops and
DWI arrests for accurate assessment of the tests’ reliability and validity.
• Participating officers must have received NHTSA-approved SFST training from a
certified instructor, possess at least one year of field experience administering
SFSTs, and receive refresher training from project staff.
• Managers and officers of the participating law enforcement agency must agree to
abide by the research procedures for the duration of the field study. For example,
officers may use only the SFST Battery (and no other tests) together with their
observations of the driver’s general appearance and speech to make their arrest
decisions; and, all test administrations must be recorded and submitted. Only
agencies that could assure an extremely high level of cooperation and commitment
would be recommended for participation.
• The site must have the capability of generating cases that represent the full range
of alcohol experience. For example, a city with a disproportionate number of
younger drivers might be more appropriate to ensure samples of sufficient size for
the younger age categories.
SUBTASK 3.2: IDENTIFIED CANDIDATE SITES AND APPLIED SELECTION CRITERIA
Several factors constrained the site-selection process and limited the possible
candidates for participation in this study. First, at the time the project was
conducted, California, Oregon, and Utah were the only states that met both of the
BAC-related site-selection criteria, namely a 0.08 BAC limit for DWI and a zero
tolerance law for drivers under 21 years of age. Second, it was important to restrict
the data collection period, to the extent possible, because it was believed that an
extremely long data collection period might result in officers deviating from the
study procedures. Strict adherence to study procedures was considered essential to
ensuring the internal validity of the study.
The site-selection strategy adopted was to recruit a police department that
serves one large city--a city large enough to generate a sufficient number of SFST
administrations for statistical analysis by itself. A large city also was likely to have a
traffic division with a dedicated DWI unit composed of trained experts. Focusing on
traffic enforcement specialists would permit us to restrict participation in the study
to officers who already had received NHTSA-approved SFST training and had
additional field experience administering the test battery. Prior training in SFST
administration was an important site-selection and methodological issue.
In the study that validated the SFST battery in 1981, all officers of an agency
could participate, following training provided by the researchers. The procedure
followed during the original study was appropriate then because no other officers
(anywhere) had yet to receive the training. However, that procedure could not be
followed in the current study because thousands of officers have received SFST
Final Report
Validation of the SFST Battery at BACs Below 0.10 Percent
-- 7 --
training since 1981. Only trained and experienced test administrators could be
permitted to participate in the current study to avoid confounding study results
with the effects of substantially different officer skill and experience levels in SFST
administration and scoring. Officers who are formally trained and experienced in
SFST administration tend to be concentrated in traffic enforcement and special DWI
units.
This site-selection strategy was judged to provide the best approach to achieve
the objectives of the current study, and the City of San Diego, California, was
identified as the leading candidate community when the site-selection criteria were
applied. The San Diego Police Department serves a resident population of more
than one million, with a much larger service population attributable to tourism and
several local military installations. The manner in which the San Diego Police
Department satisfied the site-selection criteria is outlined below.
Number of SFST Administrations
The San Diego Police Department maintains a traffic division composed of 50
officers, including ten officers and a sergeant who form the alcohol enforcement
unit. The alcohol enforcement unit deploys four or five officers on each night,
Wednesday through Sunday. The time necessary to complete the associated
paperwork usually limits each officer to a maximum of two DWI arrests each night.
This results in about 130 arrests by officers of the special unit during a four week
period. The other members of the traffic division, combined, make an additional 130
DWI arrests each month. San Diego Police Department officers do not hesitate to
arrest drivers for BACs below 0.08 percent if they exhibit any evidence of
impairment, even though low-BAC arrests usually are not prosecuted by the local
district attorney.
Demographic Considerations
The Work Plan discussed the importance of selecting a site that offers cases
for analysis that represent the full range of driver ages and BACs of interest. It was
believed that a younger, rather than an older, driver population would result in
more cases of zero tolerance violations and more SFST administrations overall. In
this regard, San Diego and the surrounding area is home to four major US Navy
bases and both the Navy and Marine Corps training centers. The area also is home
to three major universities and several smaller colleges and technical schools.
Willingness to Participate
Naturally, formal approval by senior managers is required before any law
enforcement agency can participate in a traffic safety study. Further, a manager’s
personal interest in a study that results in command emphasis concerning
participation greatly contributes to the success of a project because of the quasimilitary
organizational structure of law enforcement agencies. That is, if managers
believe participation to be of value to an agency they will direct their officers to
follow the study procedures. In this regard, the commanding officer and other
senior managers of the San Diego Police Department expressed their considerable
interest in the study and directed their personnel to cooperate with the study team.
Final Report
Validation of the SFST Battery at BACs Below 0.10 Percent
-- 8 --
Command emphasis is an important component to ensure adherence to
study procedures, but it is not sufficient; the participating officers also must be
committed to the study. The willingness of a law enforcement agency to participate
in a traffic safety study also can be measured, although subjectively, by the attitudes
of field officers when discussing the general and specific issues involved in the
study. The officers of the San Diego Police Department with whom we spoke about
the field validation expressed genuine interest in the study and eagerness to be
selected for participation.
Finally, the requirement for an agency to modify its established procedures to
accommodate special study procedures usually is somewhat negotiable in a traffic
safety study, but deviations from established study procedures were not negotiable
in this field validation. It was explained that police managers and all participating
officers must agree to abide by the study procedures to ensure the internal validity of
study results. This was an area for concern to the project team because the San Diego
Police Department’s established DWI procedures included administering three field
sobriety tests in addition to the three NHTSA SFSTs. A firm study requirement was
that no other tests be administered to subjects because they might influence an
officer’s BAC estimates; that is, all officer-estimates of BAC must be based
exclusively on results of the NHTSA SFST battery using the slightly modified
scoring system. In this regard, San Diego police managers inquired with their district
attorney and DWI supervisors, those who might object to the restriction, and found
no opposition. In fact, it was mentioned that restricting sobriety testing to the three
SFSTs would help streamline the procedures for everyone.
Prior SFST Training
All members of the San Diego Police Department’s special alcohol-enforcement
unit previously had received SFST training that was administered according
to NHTSA-approved procedures and curriculum by certified DWI instructors.
Although approximately half of the other members of the Traffic Division also had
received SFST training, it was determined that the alcohol-enforcement unit would
generate a sufficient number of SFST administrations for statistical analysis. All of
the participating officers would receive a four-hour refresher training course prior
to beginning the field study.
SUBTASK 3.3: RECRUITED LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCY TO PARTICIPATE IN THE STUDY
NHTSA reviewed the site recommendations and approved San Diego as the
site for the field study. Further discussions were held with managers and officers of
the San Diego Police Department and a Memorandum of Agreement was signed
that specified all study procedures and requirements.
SUBTASK 3.4: DEVELOPED SFST TRAINING PROGRAM
The experimental requirement that all participating officers be both trained
and experienced in SFST administration eliminated the need to develop a special
training program for this study. It was considered essential that the existing,
NHTSA-approved SFST training program remain the training standard for the field
evaluation. Because all participating officers already had received NHTSA-approved
Final Report
Validation of the SFST Battery at BACs Below 0.10 Percent
-- 9 --
SFST training, only a refresher program would be required. A four-hour refreshertraining
program was developed, based on the (October 1995) NHTSA curriculum.
The purposes of the refresher training were to instruct the officers concerning the
modified scoring system and obtain confirmation that all participants were
administering and scoring the SFST battery correctly before beginning the field
study.
TASK 4: CONDUCTED THE FIELD VALIDATION STUDY
Systematic evaluation of the SFSTs to assist officers in making arrest
decisions at BACs below 0.10 percent, under field conditions, was the ultimate
objective of this research. Although existing tests were the subject of the evaluation,
the reasons for conducting the field study were the same as if the tests previously
had not been validated. First, it was necessary to determine the accuracy of the
modifications to test scoring, compared to actual BAC levels measured through
other means. For cases in which the driver was arrested for DWI, correspondence
would be assessed between scored performance on the SFSTs and BAC, as
determined by breath test (blood and urine tests were discouraged but used if
subjects refused to comply with breath testing). For cases in which a subject was
administered SFSTs but then released on the basis of low estimated BAC, hand-held
breath testing devices were used to establish actual BAC. The second purpose of the
evaluation was to identify problems with test application in the field, which might
include test administration, scoring procedures, or other factors that might affect the
use of the tests by law enforcement personnel. Third, the courts’ acceptance of
evidence gathered using the slightly revised scoring procedures in the field
evaluation would be assessed.
SUBTASK 4.1: PREPARED FIELD EXPERIMENT PLAN
A Field Experiment Plan was developed and approved by NHTSA to guide
the conduct of the field study. The plan included the seven components depicted in
Table 1 and discussed below.
TABLE 1
COMPONENTS OF THE FIELD EXPERIMENT PLAN
Component 1: Subjects
Component 2: Independent Variables
Component 3: Criterion Measures
Component 4: Materials
Component 5: Procedures
Component 6: Controls
Component 7: Data Analyses
Components 1 and 2: Subjects and Independent Variables
The primary independent variable of interest, BAC, was inextricably linked to
the subjects in this study. Specifically, the experiment plan focused on obtaining data
from adult motorists who were suspected of exceeding the legal limit of 0.08 percent
BAC and youths under 21 who were suspected of exceeding the “zero-tolerance”
Final Report
Validation of the SFST Battery at BACs Below 0.10 Percent
-- 10 --
legal limit of 0.00. The accuracy of the SFSTs to discriminate at 0.08 and 0.04 percent
BAC could not be assessed without data from individuals who had BACs over and
under these values. Therefore, it was important to obtain BAC estimates from
individuals who had both passed and failed the standardized field sobriety tests.
Component 3: Criterion Measures
The only appropriate criterion measure to assess the accuracy of SFSTs is
BAC. Measures of impairment are irrelevant because performance of the SFSTs
must be correlated with BAC level, rather than driving performance. BAC provides
an objective and reliable measure that states have recognized as presumptive
and/or per se evidence of impairment, depending on the statute. To obtain these
criterion measures, it was determined that all drivers who were administered the
SFST Battery must be tested for BAC, regardless of the results of the SFSTs. In other
words, it would be essential to test the individuals who were judged to have BACs
below the relevant statutory level and who subsequently would be released.
Participating officers were instructed concerning the importance of obtaining BAC
data for all subjects, in order to calculate the accuracy of the tests.
All police officers participating in the study were equipped with NHTSAapproved,
portable breath testing devices to assess the BACs of all drivers who were
administered the SFSTs, including those who were released without arrest. Further,
arrested subjects were tested both in the field with a portable device and at the
booking site. The use of passive alcohol sensors (PAS) during the study was not
permitted.
Component 4: Materials
Only the existing SFSTs were to be administered, which require no
equipment. A pen, pencil, or small flash light frequently are used by officers as a
stimulus or target for the HGN test, but a finger can be used with equal effectiveness.
The data collection form used in the study is presented as Figure 3. The data
collection form was extremely important in this study for several reasons. As is the
case in most field studies, the form must be as simple to complete as possible to
minimize the workload of participating officers. In the present case, it also was
important for the form to be designed to guide the officer in the administration of
the SFSTs, to facilitate standardization and systematic scoring of the tests. In
addition, the form designed for this study had to both encourage and provide
assurances that officers had followed the study procedures. Most important, it was
essential that officers would conduct a breath test and record actual subject BAC as
the final step of the process; that is, actual BACs were to be entered on the form only
after BAC estimates based on SFST performance had been recorded. Hand-held
breath testing devices with digital displays were used for this purpose.
Component 5: Procedures
The sixth component of the field experiment plan was the specification of
procedures to be used for administering the tests and obtaining independent
measures of BAC. The procedures to be followed by participating officers were listed
Final Report
Validation of the SFST Battery at BACs Below 0.10 Percent
-- 11 --
as a series of six numbered steps on the data collection form that was used in the
field study. The study procedures were to be followed whenever a participating
officer suspected an adult driver of being alcohol impaired or a youth under 21 of
having a BAC greater than zero. In practice, officers administered the SFSTs to all
motorists who exhibited any objective behavior or other cue associated with having
consumed alcohol, even if impairment was not evident. A breath, blood, or urine
test was administered to all motorists who performed the SFSTs, but only after the
officer had made an arrest/no arrest decision based on the officer’s scoring of the
driver’s SFST performance, and recorded a BAC estimate. The data collection form
structured the procedure by presenting all officer actions as a series of numbered
steps. Requiring officers to record the time of BAC estimates and BAC tests ensured
that officers’ estimates were not influenced by the results of the chemical tests.
Completed data collection forms were sent to Anacapa Sciences on a weekly basis for
data entry.
In some states, such as California, officers have the right to administer a
breath test to a driver who has exhibited any objective sign of alcohol-consumption.
Compliance is mandatory if the officer can articulate a reasonable suspicion of the
motorist having consumed alcohol (such as the odor of an alcoholic beverage).
SFSTs were administered only to drivers who exhibited some objective DWI cue,
thus, no problems were experienced in obtaining BAC data, even from subjects
whose SFST performance was acceptable. The field breath test was conducted as the
final step after the SFST procedure was completed, which is the de facto procedure
followed by most officers who are equipped with field breath testing devices.
To further ensure compliance with study procedures, the participating law
enforcement officers signed a statement affirming that they would abide by the
established study procedures. In addition, project staff monitored the data collection
effort, periodically riding along with participating officers to ensure that study
procedures were being followed.
Component 6: Controls
Extraneous variables that could affect the outcome of the study must be
controlled to the extent possible. The controls that were implemented to ensure the
validity of study results have been discussed in this section, including systematic
procedures and the use of only trained and experienced officers.
Component 7: Data Analyses
The data analysis plan was designed to answer the following research
questions.
• How accurately do the tests discriminate between subjects who are above or below
0.08 and 0.04 percent BACs?
• Which of the components of the SFST battery is/are the best predictor(s) of BAC?
• How reliable, or consistent, are the tests?
• Are the tests usable by police officers? Are they readily accepted by officers and
prosecutors?
Final Report
Validation of the SFST Battery at BACs Below 0.10 Percent
-- 12 --
NHTSA/ANACAPA SFST VALIDATION DATA FORM
FIELD SOBRIETY TESTS ADMINISTERED
Officer ID:______________
Month_____Day_____1996
6. DISPOSITION: Warning Citation DUI Arrest
4. ESTIMATE OF BAC BASED ON SFSTS:
Time of estimation _______hr _______min
5. SUBJECT BAC Refused
Breath Blood Urine
PBT Time of PBT test _______hr _______min
Ö
Driver:
Adult
Under 21
Male
Female
2 or more ³ 0.08
Stops while walking
Does not touch heel to toe
Steps off the line
Raises arms for balance
Incorrect number of steps
Trouble with turn (explain)___________________
Cannot perform the test (8 clues -- maximum)
Total Walk and Turn Clues
3. WALK AND TURN TEST Clues
1st 9 2nd 9
Loses balance while listening to instructions
Starts before instructions are finished
Sways while balancing
Uses arms for balance
Hops to maintain balance
Puts foot down
Cannot perform test (4 clues -- maximum)
Total One Leg Stand Clues
2 or more ³ 0.08
Clues
2. ONE LEG STAND TEST (seconds) 0-10 11-20 21-30
4 or more ³ 0.08 / 2 or more ³ 0.04
Total HGN Clues (6 clues maximum)
Lack of smooth pursuit
Nystagmus at maximum deviation
Nystagmus onset before 45 degrees
Clues
1. HORIZONTAL GAZE NYSTAGMUS TEST
Right Eye Left Eye
+ =
Clues
Age:_______
Time of Stop:_______hr _______min
Other Time of other test _______hr _______min
Figure 3. Data collection form used in the validation study.
Final Report
Validation of the SFST Battery at BACs Below 0.10 Percent
-- 13 --
SUBTASK 4.2. TRAINED OFFICERS IN THE USE OF THE SFSTS
Dr. Marcelline Burns, one of the investigators who developed the SFST
battery, developed and conducted the refresher training for the participating
officers. Dr. Burns’ research and training experience in this field ensured that
officers received effective and credible refresher instruction. Dr. Burns was assisted
in the training session by the project director and NHTSA COTR.
SUBTASK 4.3. IMPLEMENTED EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN AND COLLECTED DATA
Implementation of the experiment design began immediately following the
completion of officer refresher training on 23 May 1996 and continued through 9
November. Specific study procedures were:
• Only officers who were members of the San Diego Police Department’s alcoholenforcement
unit and who received NHTSA-approved SFST training participated
directly in the study. Dr. Marcelline Burns provided brief “refresher” training to all
participating officers to ensure a consistent and systematic approach to SFST
administration during the study.
• Upon commencement of the study period, participating officers used only the SFST
Battery (i.e., Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus, Walk and Turn, One Leg Stand) together
with their observations of a driver’s general appearance and speech, to establish
inferences about a subject for whom there was reasonable suspicion of driving while
impaired. In other words, no tests other than the three SFSTs were performed.
• Participating officers performed the administration steps in the sequence specified on
the data collection form; that is, they,
1. Administered the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus test and recorded results.
2. Administered the One Leg Stand test and recorded results.
3. Administered the Walk and Turn test and recorded results.
4. Used the scoring systems that were printed on the data collection form (by
counting test “clues”) to estimate the subject’s BAC. Recorded their estimate of
the subject’s BAC based on SFST performance, together with their observations of
the subject’s general appearance and speech. Also, they recorded the time when
their estimate was made.
5. Checked the box that indicated the disposition of the stop: Warning, Citation, or
Arrest.
6. Recorded the subject’s BAC obtained from a field breath test; or, checked the
appropriate box for other tests or responses. Blood and urine test results were
provided later; every effort was made to obtain a breath test result for all
subjects. Recorded the time when the BAC test was performed.
• Obtained a BAC for all subjects who were administered SFSTs as the final step in the
test administration procedure. BACs were obtained for all subjects tested including
those subjects who officers estimated, on the basis of SFST results, to have BACs
below the legal limit.
• Participating officers completed and submited a data collection form for each subject
tested during the study period; that is, all administrations of the SFST battery by
Final Report
Validation of the SFST Battery at BACs Below 0.10 Percent
-- 14 --
participating officers were recorded on a data collection form and submitted for
analysis.
• All completed data collection forms were sent to Anacapa Sciences, Inc., for data
entry and analysis.
SUBTASK 4.4 CONDUCTED COURT AND POLICE INTERVIEWS
The final data collection task was the conduct of open-ended interviews with
participating police officers and prosecutors who were exposed to the new SFSTs
during DWI cases. The purposes of the interviews were to determine if the tests
were acceptable to the officers for use in the field and to the prosecutors for use of
test results in court.
TASKS 5 AND 6: ANALYZED DATA AND PREPARED FINAL REPORT
All data collection forms were returned to Anacapa Sciences, Inc., sequentially
numbered, and the contents entered into a computerized data base. Data analyses
were performed by the project director and Dr. Marcelline Burns. The results of
those analyses are presented in the following section of this report.
Final Report
Validation of the SFST Battery at BACs Below 0.10 Percent
-- 15 --
RESULTS
This study was conducted to evaluate the accuracy of NHTSA’s Standardized
Field Sobriety Test Battery in assisting officers to make arrest decisions at BACs
above and below 0.08 percent under field conditions. A secondary objective of the
study was to evaluate the possibility that the test battery also could be used to assist
officers in making arrest decisions at BACs lower than 0.08 percent.
The seven participating officers from the San Diego Police Department’s
alcohol-enforcement unit completed a total of 298 data collection forms during the
study period; only one case was eliminated from analysis because the subject refused
to submit to any form of BAC testing. Officer compliance with study procedures and
motivation to participate in the study remained high throughout the data collection
period.
EVALUATION OF SFST ACCURACY
Three methods were used to evaluate the accuracy of the SFST battery to
discriminate at the BACs of interest: comparison of means, correlation analyses, and
decision analyses.
COMPARISON OF MEANS
Table 2 presents a summary of the estimated and measured BAC data by age
category. The table shows that 91.9 percent of the motorists tested were adults,
compared to 8.1 percent youth, defined as motorists under the age of 21 years. The
mean estimated and measured BACs of the younger motorists were approximately
0.035 lower than the BACs of the adults tested during the field study. The officers’
mean estimated BACs, however, were very close to the mean measured BACs for
both adults and youth; on average, the difference between officers’ estimates and the
actual BACs were only 0.005 percent for adults and 0.007 percent for youth.
TABLE 2
ESTIMATED AND MEASURED BAC (%) BY AGE CATEGORY
Age Estimated Measured
Category Number Percent BAC (Mean) BAC (Mean)
Adults 273 91.9 0.120 0.125
Youth 24 8.1 0.083 0.090
Total 297 100.0 0.117 0.122
Table 3 presents a summary of the estimated and measured BAC data by gender
category. The table shows that 87.9 percent of the motorists tested were males,
compared to 12.1 percent females, with adults and youth combined. The mean estimated
BACs of the male and female motorists tested were identical (i.e., 0.117 percent).
Again, for both categories, the officers’ mean estimated BACs were very close
to the mean measured BACs; on average, the difference between officers’ estimates
and the actual BACs were only 0.004 percent for males and 0.012 percent for females.
Final Report
Validation of the SFST Battery at BACs Below 0.10 Percent
-- 16 --
TABLE 3
ESTIMATED AND MEASURED BAC (%) BY GENDER
Estimated Measured
Gender Number Percent BAC (Mean) BAC (Mean)
Male 261 87.9 0.117 0.121
Female 36 12.1 0.117 0.129
Total 297 100.0 0.117 0.122
Table 4 presents a more detailed accounting of the estimated and measured
BAC data by age and gender category, and by the disposition of the enforcement stop.
In addition, the table shows that 73 percent of all motorists who were tested during
the field study were arrested for DWI based on SFST performance and officer
evaluations. Approximately 22 percent of the motorists tested received warnings
and five percent were cited for a motor vehicle violation other than DWI.
TABLE 4
ESTIMATED AND MEASURED BAC (%) BY DISPOSITION, AGE CATEGORY, AND GENDER
Disposition & Estimated Measured
Category Number Percent BAC (Mean) BAC (Mean)
Warnings 65 21.9 0.060 0.044
Adults 57 0.063 0.045
Male Adults 53 0.063 0.044
Female Adults 4 0.070 0.054
Youth 8 0.036 0.038
Male Youth 6 0.037 0.038
Female Youth 2 0.035 0.040
Citations 15 5.1 0.055 0.046
Adults 11 0.050 0.040
Male Adults 9 0.047 0.043
Female Adults 2 0.065 0.029
Youth 4 0.070 0.062
Male Youth 2 0.060 0.055
Female Youth 2 0.080 0.070
Arrests 217 73.0 0.138 0.150
Adults 205 0.139 0.152
Male Adults 180 0.139 0.150
Female Adults 25 0.139 0.160
Youth 12 0.119 0.135
Male Youth 11 0.121 0.134
Female Youth 1 0.100 0.140
Total 297 100.0 0.117 0.122
Final Report
Validation of the SFST Battery at BACs Below 0.10 Percent
-- 17 --
The data presented in Table 4 also show that officers tended to slightly overestimate
the BACs of motorists who had lower BACs, and slightly under-estimate
BACs at the higher levels. Overall, however, officers’ estimates were extremely
accurate. Based on SFST results and officers’ observations, the officers’ mean
estimated BAC of the 297 motorists was 0.117 percent, compared to the mean
measured BAC of 0.122. Although statistically significant, the difference of 0.005
percent BAC is a trivial and operationally irrelevant under-estimate of actual BACs
that is within the margin of error of sophisticated evidentiary testing equipment.
CORRELATION ANALYSES
The accuracy of the SFSTs was further evaluated by conducting a series of
correlation analyses to identify the degree to which officers’ individual estimates of
BAC corresponded with subjects’ actual, or measured, BAC. A correlation coefficient
is a statistic, usually represented as r, that expresses the relatedness of two variables,
that is, the degree to which the variables co-vary. In this case, the two variables were
an officer’s estimate and the subject’s actual BAC. The Pearson product-moment
correlation method was used to calculate the relationship between these variables;
cases with complete SFST results (n=261) were used in this analysis.
If officers had predicted the precise BACs of all subjects (to three decimal
points), the correlation coefficient would be +1.00; the correlation coefficient would
be zero if there were no relationship between the estimated and actual BACs. For
predictive measures, especially those administered under field conditions, a
correlation of 0.65 to 0.70 is considered to be very high.
Table 5 presents the results of the correlation analyses. The table shows that
HGN test results had the highest correlation with measured BAC of the three
components of the SFST battery (r=0.65). However, a slightly higher correlation was
obtained when the results of the three component tests were combined (r=0.69). The
table also shows strong correlations between test results and officers’ estimated
BACs, indicating that officers were following procedures and interpreting test results
correctly. All of the correlations were found to be statistically significant (p=.005).
TABLE 5
CORRELATIONS OF SFST SCORES TO ESTIMATED AND MEASURED BAC (%)
N=261 CASES WITH COMPLETE SFST SCORES
Correlation (r) Correlation (r)
with Estimated with Measured
Rank SFST(s) BAC BAC
1 3 Tests Combined 0.75 0.69
2 HGN 0.71 0.65
3 Walk-and-Turn 0.64 0.61
4 One Leg Stand 0.61 0.45
Final Report
Validation of the SFST Battery at BACs Below 0.10 Percent
-- 18 --
DECISION ANALYSES
The third method used to evaluate the accuracy of the SFST battery was to
construct a decision matrix that describes the four possible combinations of the two
variables of interest, estimated and actual BACs above and below the levels of
interest. Figure 4 presents the first decision matrix, with the four major cells of the
matrix representing the four possible decisions at 0.08 percent BAC. The numbers in
the major cells are the number of cases for each type of decision out of the 297 SFST
administrations. The two shaded cells represent correct decisions based on SFST
results: 1) 210 motorists who officers estimated to have BACs equal to or greater
than 0.08 percent, who later were found to have BACs ³0.08 by BAC testing (by
breath, blood, or urine analysis); and, 2) 59 motorists who officers estimated to have
BACs below 0.08 percent, who later tested below 0.08.
Figure 4 also reveals the incorrect decisions: 1) 24 motorists who officers
estimated to have BACs greater than 0.08 who later were found to have BACs below
that level (false positives); and, 2) four subjects who officers estimated to have BACs
below 0.08 who later tested above 0.08 (false negatives).
It can be calculated from the data contained in Figure 4 that officers’ decisions
were accurate in 91 percent of the 297 cases (i.e., [210+59]÷297=.906). Further, officers’
decisions to arrest were correct in 90 percent of the cases in which BAC was
estimated to be ³0.08 (i.e., 210÷234=.897), and decisions not to arrest were correct in
94 percent of the cases in which BAC was estimated to be below 0.08 (i.e., 59÷63=.937).
These results indicate a high degree of accuracy, but it will be instructive to consider
more closely those cases in which incorrect decisions were made.
Officers' Estimated BACs
Measured BACs
<0.08% ³0.08%
<0.08% ³0.08%
n=4 n=210
n=59
n=63 n=234
n=214
n=83
N=297
Accurate in 91% of cases overall
90% accurate in "yes" decisions
94% accurate in "no" decisions
n=24
Figure 4. Decision matrix at 0.08 percent BAC.
Final Report
Validation of the SFST Battery at BACs Below 0.10 Percent
-- 19 --
Table 6 presents a summary of the data for each of the 24 false positives (FPs).
These cases are labeled False Positives because the officers estimated the subjects’
BACs to be ³0.08 percent, but subsequent testing found BACs below 0.08. However,
in several cases, officers were correct in identifying impairment, which probably
influenced their estimates of BAC.
TABLE 6
SUMMARY OF FALSE POSITIVES
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
30
34
121
186
226
227
129
175
224
32
127
16
196
52
178
246
137
12
164
165
75
104
13
135
4
4
0.08
0.08
0.08
0.08
0.08
0.08
0.09
0.09
0.09
0.09
0.10
0.10
0.10
0.11
0.12
0.12
0.09
0.08
0.08
0.08
0.08
0.09
0.09
0.12
6
4
6
4
4
4
4
6
6
6
6
4
6
6
2
n/a
2
2
2
3
0
3
0.050
0.058
0.060
0.063
0.058
0.060
0.070
0.070
0.076
0.070
0.028
0.070
0.074
0.050
0.070
0.069
0.030
0.060
0.070
0.020
0.078
0.048
0.037
0.043
yes
yes
yes
yes
yes
yes
yes
yes
yes
yes
yes
yes
yes
yes
yes
yes
no
no
no
no
no
no
no
?
Case
Number
Estimated
BAC (%)
Number
of HGN
Clues
Measured
BAC (%)
Is Estimate
Consistent
with Clues?
In 16 of the cases listed in Table 6, the officers’ estimates of BAC were
consistent with the number of HGN clues observed (i.e., four or more HGN clues to
Final Report
Validation of the SFST Battery at BACs Below 0.10 Percent
-- 20 --
support an estimate ³0.08), however, the motorists subsequently were found to have
actual BACs below 0.08 percent. In seven of the cases, the officers’ estimated BACs
were inconsistent with the number of HGN clues observed. It is important to note
that six of the 24 false positives had measured BACs of 0.07 percent, and three had
BACs greater than 0.07 but less than 0.08 (i.e., 0.074, 0.076, and 0.078). All nine of
these BACs are within the margin of error of the testing devices. Further, Case
Number 16 was a juvenile (0.069), which rendered the difference between estimated
and measured BACs irrelevant in a zero tolerance jurisdiction; that is, it was a
correct arrest decision despite the BAC estimate. In addition, two of the subjects with
measured BACs of 0.07 were arrested for DWI, because the officers’ believed that
they were too impaired to be permitted to drive. Finally, Case Number 30, with an
estimated BAC of 0.08 and a measured BAC of 0.05 percent, was found to be a
psychiatric patient, which helped to explain her erratic behavior, poor SFST
performance, and apparent impairment.
Although the proportions of correct decisions presented in Figure 4 reflect a
high degree of accuracy, the accuracy of officers’ decisions is even better if some of
the borderline cases are accepted. An accuracy rate of 94 percent for all officer
decisions based on SFST results was calculated by including as correct decisions Case
16 (the youth with a 0.069 percent BAC) and the nine false positives with BACs
between 0.07 and 0.08, discussed in the previous paragraph.
Table 7 summarizes the four cases in which officers estimated the subjects’
BACs to be below 0.08 percent, but later found the measured BACs to be ³0.08. Six
HGN clues would be expected for Case Number 193 (0.10 percent) and Case Number
99 (0.12 percent). It is unknown why the officers observed only two HGN clues. In
contrast, officers recorded four HGN clues for Case Number 131 and Case Number
114, which would indicate BACs greater than 0.08, however, the officers’ estimated-
BACs were only 0.06 percent. It is unknown why the officers did not follow the test
interpretation guidelines in these two cases; their low estimates probably reflect
other observations made in combination with SFST performance.
TABLE 7
SUMMARY OF FALSE NEGATIVES
1
2
3
4
193
99
131
114
2
2
0.06
0.06
0.06
0.06
4
4
0.100
0.120
0.080
0.116
yes
yes
no
no
Case
Number
Estimated
BAC (%)
Number
of HGN
Clues
Measured
BAC (%)
Is Estimate
Consistent
with Clues?
Similarly, in seven of the false positive cases listed previously in Table 6,
officers apparently did not follow the test interpretation guidelines; that is, fewer
than four HGN clues were reported, yet the officers’ estimated-BACs were at least
Final Report
Validation of the SFST Battery at BACs Below 0.10 Percent
-- 21 --
0.08 percent. It is possible that other factors influenced the officers’ estimates. For
example, the subjects might have appeared to be more impaired than indicated by
HGN results as a consequence of prescription or recreational drugs taken in addition
to alcohol.
A series of decision analyses was performed to calculate the contributions of
the component tests of the battery to officers’ estimates of BAC. Figure 5 presents
three decision matrices, one for each of the SFSTs. The matrices are similar to the
one in Figure 4, but with the criterion numbers of clues at 0.08 percent BAC
substituted for officers’ estimates. Figure 5 shows the HGN test to be the most
accurate independent predictor of whether a motorist’s BAC is above or below 0.08
percent.
Number of HGN Clues
Measured BACs
< 4 ³ 4
³0.08%
n=4
n=51
n=55 n=235
n=209
n=81
N=290
Accurate in 88% of cases overall
87% accurate in "yes" decisions
93% accurate in "no" decisions
<0.08%
n=205
n=30
Number of WAT Clues
Measured BACs
< 2 ³ 2
³0.08%
n=16 n=179
n=36
n=52 n=219
n=195
n=76
N=271
Accurate in 79% of cases overall
82% accurate in "yes" decisions
69% accurate in "no" decisions
<0.08%
n=40
Accurate in 83% of cases overall
86% accurate in "yes" decisions
73% accurate in "no" decisions
Number of OLS Clues
Measured BACs
< 2
³0.08%
n=16
n=44
n=60 n=213
n=198
n=75
N=273
<0.08%
³ 2
n=182
n=31
Figure 5. Decision matrices at 0.08 percent BAC for each component test of the SFST battery.
Final Report
Validation of the SFST Battery at BACs Below 0.10 Percent
-- 22 --
Further analyses were performed to explore methods for combining the
results of the three component tests. Only the 261 cases that included test results for
all three component tests could be used in this analysis. Of those cases, 73 were
found to have BACs below 0.08 percent and 188 cases had measured BACs ³0.08
percent. In 162 of the 188 cases (86 percent), all three component SFSTs were
unanimous in their predictions.
Figure 6 presents a Venn diagram that illustrates the contributions of the
three tests to the 14 percent of cases in which a discrepancy occurred. The figure
shows there were 162 cases with BACs ³0.08 in which all three SFSTs indicated a
BAC ³0.08 (the number outside the circles in Figure 6), and 26 cases in which one or
more test disagreed (the numbers inside the circles). A single test indicated a BAC
below 0.08 in 17 of the cases (8+2+7), and two tests were involved in nine of the
cases (1+1+7). There were no cases in which all three tests predicted incorrectly.
HGN
WAT OLS
2
1
0
1
8 7 7
162 Cases ³0.08% BAC in which all three tests agree
(represented by the area outside the three circles)
Figure 6. Venn diagram of 188 cases ³0.08% BAC; 26 cases in which all three tests do not agree.
The horizontal gaze nystagmus test (HGN in the diagram) was about four
times less likely to be the source of a discrepancy than the other two tests. Only two
of the single-test discrepancies were attributable to HGN results, compared to eight
cases for the Walk and Turn test (WAT), and seven cases for the One Leg Stand
(OLS). Overall, the HGN test was involved in only four of the discrepancies,
compared to 16 cases for the Walk and Turn and 15 cases for the One Leg Stand.
The question of the SFST battery’s accuracy in discriminating BACs above and
below 0.04 percent is addressed by the following decision matrix, presented in Figure
7; the shaded cells of the matrix again represent correct decisions based on SFST
results. The figure shows that officers estimated motorists’ BACs to be equal to or
greater than 0.04 but under 0.08 percent in 54 cases, and in 51 of those cases their
estimates were found to be correct by subsequent breath, blood, or urine testing;
Final Report
Validation of the SFST Battery at BACs Below 0.10 Percent
-- 23 --
these values result in an accuracy rate of 94 percent for these decisions (i.e.,
51÷54=.94). The figure also shows that officers estimated that 29 motorists had BACs
below 0.04, and in 15 of those cases their estimates were found to be correct by
subsequent testing, resulting in a 52 percent accuracy rate (15÷29=.52). Overall,
officers were accurate in 80 percent of the cases when discriminating between
subjects who were above 0.04 but below 0.08 percent BAC (i.e., [51+15]÷83=.80).
Officers' Estimated BACs
Measured BACs
<0.04% ³0.04 <0.08%
n=14
n=15
n=29 n=54
n=65
n=18
N=83
Accurate in 80% of cases overall
94% accurate in "yes" decisions
52% accurate in "no" decisions
<0.04% ³0.04 <0.08%
n=51
n=3
Figure 7. Decision matrix at 0.04 percent BAC.
EVALUATION OF SFST ACCEPTABILITY
In interviews and during ride-along observations, the officers who
participated in the study fully accepted the SFSTs for evaluating motorists for DWI
at BACs below 0.10 percent. All of the officers were formally trained in SFST
administration and scoring and all had sufficient field experience to develop
confidence in their abilities to discriminate at the 0.08 level. Further, it was the
officers’ experience with the SFST battery that the component tests could be
administered to all but a small proportion of drivers and under all reasonable
environmental conditions.
Interviews also were conducted with representatives of the San Diego City
Attorney’s Office to inquire concerning the acceptability of the SFSTs to prosecutors
and judges in DWI cases. The attorneys interviewed reported that none of the 298
DWI arrests made by participating officers during the study period was negatively
affected by the SFST battery, or by excluding the other tests that traditionally had
been used by the department.
Final Report
Validation of the SFST Battery at BACs Below 0.10 Percent
-- 24 --
The attorneys further explained that as prosecutors they normally prefer as
much evidence as possible, and in a DWI case more tests usually generate more
evidence they can use. However, it has been their recent experience that a test used
by another local law enforcement agency has negatively affected cases they have
prosecuted. Defense attorneys have been unsuccessful in their challenges of
NHTSA’s SFST battery, but they have successfully challenged the validity of the
other test because it has not been evaluated in a systematic and scientific manner.
Prosecutors who were interviewed suggested that the optimum situation would be
for all law enforcement agencies to restrict their field sobriety evaluations to the
same standardized battery of three tests.
Final Report
Validation of the SFST Battery at BACs Below 0.10 Percent
-- 25 --
IMPLICATIONS
The research documented in this report found that NHTSA’s Standardized
Field Sobriety Test Battery accurately and reliably assists officers in making DWI
arrest decisions at 0.08 percent BAC. The study also found that the SFSTs can be used
to assist officers in making arrest decisions at 0.04 percent BAC by using two HGN
clues as the criterion rather than four clues, which is the criterion for a 0.08 percent
or above BAC determination. The primary implication of the study results is that
the SFST battery is a valid method for making roadside DWI decisions at 0.08 and
0.04 percent BAC. Specific implications of the study results are presented in the
following paragraphs in response to the research questions listed previously.
HOW ACCURATELY DO THE TESTS DISCRIMINATE BETWEEN SUBJECTS WHO
ARE ABOVE OR BELOW 0.08 AND 0.04 PERCENT BACS?
This study found NHTSA’s SFST battery to be an accurate method for
discriminating motorists’ BACs above and below 0.08 percent and above and below
0.04 percent, when the tests are conducted by trained officers, as summarized below.
COMPARISON OF MEANS
The mean estimated BAC of the 297 motorists included in the study was 0.117
percent, compared to the mean measured BAC of 0.122. The difference of 0.005
percent BAC (i.e., five one-thousandths of a percent BAC) is very small and
operationally irrelevant. The accuracy of officers’ estimates during this study, in
large measure, confirms the anecdotal accounts and observations of officers in the
field that suggest remarkable abilities to predict a motorists’ BAC on the basis of
SFST results.
CORRELATION ANALYSES
Correlation analyses found the HGN test to be very predictive of measured
BACs (r=0.65). A higher correlation was obtained when the results of the three
component tests were combined (r=0.69). All of the correlations are statistically
significant, meaningful, and in the rank order expected from previous SFST
research.
DECISION ANALYSES
Decision analyses found that officers’ estimates of whether a motorist’s BAC
was above or below 0.08 or 0.04 percent were extremely accurate. Estimates at or
above the 0.08 level were accurate in 91 percent of the cases, or as high as 94 percent
if explanations for ten of the false positives are accepted. Estimates at or above the
0.04 level (but below 0.08) were accurate in 94 percent of the relevant cases. It is
important to note that officers’ decisions not to arrest were more accurate at 0.08
than at 0.04 (94 percent compared to 52 percent).
Although the relatively small number of low BACs in the data base (n=83)
might constrain confidence in the SFSTs at the 0.04 level, the data strongly suggest
Final Report
Validation of the SFST Battery at BACs Below 0.10 Percent
-- 26 --
operational utility to accurately discriminate above or below 0.04 percent BAC.
Further, these results are consistent with the results of a recent study conducted to
evaluate the SFST battery for use by officers in Colorado.
Colorado has a two-tier statute that permits officers to arrest motorists for
driving under the influence (DUI) if found to have a BAC ³ 0.10 percent, and for a
lesser offense, driving while ability impaired (DWAI), if found to have a BAC ³0.05
but below 0.099 percent. Of the 234 drivers tested during the Colorado study for
whom BACs were known, 93 percent of the officers’ decisions to arrest at the 0.05
percent criterion were correct, and 64 percent of the decisions to release were correct.
Overall in the Colorado study, 86 percent of the officers’ decisions at the 0.05 level
were correct, based on SFST results (Burns and Anderson, 1995; Anderson and
Burns, 1997).
WHICH OF THE COMPONENTS OF THE SFST BATTERY IS/ARE THE BEST
PREDICTOR(S) OF BAC?
The horizontal gaze nystagmus test was found to be the most predictive of the
three component tests, but correlations with measured BACs were higher when the
results of all three tests were combined, as reported earlier. The implications of this
study result are that all components of the SFST battery should be administered
when possible or practical. However, the data indicate that the HGN test alone can
provide valid indications to support officers’ arrest decisions at both 0.08 and 0.04
percent BAC.
HOW RELIABLE, OR CONSISTENT, ARE THE TESTS?
Reliability is a measurement concept that represents the consistency with
which a test measures a type of performance or behavior. In the current context, a
reliable field sobriety test provides consistent results when administered to the same
individual by two different officers, under nearly identical conditions. This type of
“inter-rater” reliability was impossible to measure directly during this study, due to
the constraints imposed by field conditions. In particular, it would have been
unrealistic to subject motorists to the SFST battery twice, or to require that officers
operate in pairs during their patrols.
Evidence of SFST reliability can be found in the results of the previous
laboratory studies, in which the constraints on repeated measure were eliminated by
the use of paid subjects and officers. Tharp, Burns, and Moskowitz (1981) found
relatively high inter-rater reliability for BAC estimates based on SFST results (r=.72).
The researchers also found that inter-rater reliability increased in subsequent
sessions (r=.80), indicating the important role of training and experience in
achieving accuracy, reliability, and overall proficiency.
In addition, correlation coefficients, in general, are measures of reliability. For
this reason, the correlations between estimated and actual BACs obtained during the
field study (r=.69) indicate a high degree of reliability for tests designed to be
administered at roadside.
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Validation of the SFST Battery at BACs Below 0.10 Percent
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ARE THE TESTS USABLE BY POLICE OFFICERS UNDER A VARIETY OF ROADSIDE
CONDITIONS? ARE THEY READILY ACCEPTED BY OFFICERS AND PROSECUTORS?
All of the officers who participated in this study were members of the San
Diego Police Department’s alcohol enforcement unit, all had previously received
NHTSA-approved training in DWI detection and SFST administration, and all had
at least three years of experience in the Traffic Division before joining the special
unit. Prior to beginning the field study, the officers demonstrated competence in the
administration of the component tests and interpretation of test results.
Participation was limited to members of the alcohol-enforcement unit of a single
law enforcement agency. These experience and training requirements were
imposed, to control variables, to the extent possible, that might affect study results.
As a consequence of the selection criteria, all participating officers were
proficient in the use of the SFST battery. The officers reported that they use their
SFST skills daily in their work, and their experience has made them confident in the
ability of the test battery to discriminate at 0.08 percent BAC, and at lower levels.
Further, officers reported that the tests can be administered in all reasonable
environmental conditions. In short, the officers who participated in this study
consider the SFST battery to be extremely useful, in fact, essential tools for the
performance of their professional duties.
The prosecutors interviewed during the study reported that the SFST battery
has been acceptable to them and the courts because it was developed and validated
in a systematic and scientific manner. They suggested that all law enforcement
agencies should limit officers to use of the SFST battery in performance evaluations
of DWI because other tests usually lack credibility in court. No problems were
experienced in any of the 298 cases resulting from the field study, indicating the
SFSTs to be fully acceptable to the courts in establishing probable cause to arrest a
motorist for DWI.
NOTE ABOUT THE ACCEPTABILITY OF THE HGN TEST
Many law enforcement officers from across the United States have reported
their sincere appreciation to NHTSA for developing the SFST battery, and in
particular, the horizontal gaze nystagmus test. However, some officers have
expressed frustration about the resistance of some courts to accept HGN results,
despite the clear and unequivocal support of scientific research and field experience.
It is likely that this remaining resistance to the horizontal gaze nystagmus test is
attributable to a misunderstanding concerning the purpose of a field sobriety test,
and can be explained by reference to “face validity,” a term used in the behavioral
sciences to describe one component of a measure’s acceptability.
Many individuals, including some judges, believe that the purpose of a field
sobriety test is to measure driving impairment. For this reason, they tend to expect
tests to possess “face validity,” that is, tests that appear to be related to actual driving
tasks. Tests of physical and cognitive abilities, such as balance, reaction time, and
information processing, have face validity, to varying degrees, based on the
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Validation of the SFST Battery at BACs Below 0.10 Percent
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involvement of these abilities in driving tasks; that is, the tests seem to be relevant
“on the face of it.” Horizontal gaze nystagmus lacks face validity because it does not
appear to be linked to the requirements of driving a motor vehicle. The reasoning is
correct, but it is based on the incorrect assumption that field sobriety tests are
designed to measure driving impairment.
Driving a motor vehicle is a very complex activity that involves a wide
variety of tasks and operator capabilities. It is unlikely that complex human
performance, such as that required to safely drive an automobile, can be measured at
roadside. The constraints imposed by roadside testing conditions were recognized by
the developers of NHTSA’s SFST battery. As a consequence, they pursued the
development of tests that would provide statistically valid and reliable indications
of a driver’s BAC, rather than indications of driving impairment. The link between
BAC and driving impairment is a separate issue, involving entirely different
research methods. Those methods have found driving to be impaired at BACs as
low as 0.02 percent, with a sharp increase in impairment at about 0.07 percent
(Moskowitz and Robinson, 1988; Stuster, 1997). Thus, SFST results help officers to
make accurate DWI arrest decisions even though SFSTs do not directly measure
driving impairment.
Horizontal gaze nystagmus is the most accurate diagnostic of BAC available to
officers in the field. HGN’s apparent lack of face validity to driving tasks is
irrelevant because the objective of the test is to discriminate between drivers above
and below the statutory BAC limit, not to measure driving impairment.
Throughout the United States, DWI laws permit arrest decisions to be made on the
basis of the statutory BAC limit, irrespective of a specific motorist’s degree of
impairment. Motorists also can be arrested at BACs below the statutory limit if their
driving performance is demonstrably impaired by alcohol or other drugs.
CONCLUSIONS
The results of this study provide clear evidence of the validity of the
Standardized Field Sobriety Test Battery to discriminate above or below 0.08 percent
BAC. Further, study results strongly suggest that the SFSTs also accurately
discriminate above or below 0.04 percent BAC.
Finally, in addition to establishing the validity of the SFST battery, this study
has found the tests to be acceptable, indeed welcomed, by law enforcement officers
and DWI prosecutors.
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Validation of the SFST Battery at BACs Below 0.10 Percent
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REFERENCES
Anderson, E.W. and Burns, M. (1997). Standardized Field Sobriety Tests: A Field
Study. Proceedings of the 14th International Conference on Alcohol, Drugs
and Traffic Safety Volume 2, 635-639.
Aschan, G. (1958). Different types of alcohol nystagmus. Acta Otolaryngology,
Supplement 140, 69-78.
Burns, M. and Anderson, E.W. (1995). A Colorado Validation Study of the
Standardized Field Sobriety Test (SFST) Battery. Colorado Department of
Transportation.
Burns, M. and Moskowitz, H. (1977). Psychophysical Tests for DWI Arrest. U.S.
Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety
Administration Final Report DOT-HS-5-01242, Washington, D.C.
Harris, D.H., Dick, R.A., Casey, S.M.,and Jarosz, C.J. (1980). The Visual Detection of
Driving While Intoxicated. U.S. Department of Transportation, National
Highway Traffic Safety Administration Final Report DOT-HS-7-1538.
Harris, D.H. (1980). Visual detection of driving while intoxicated. Human Factors,
22(6), 725-732.
Lehti, H.M.J. (1976). The effects of blood alcohol concentration on the onset of gaze
nystagmus. Blutalkohol, Vol. 13, 411-414.
Moskowitz, H., and Robinson, C.D. (1988). Effects of Low Doses of Alcohol on
Driving-Related Skills: A Review of the Evidence. U.S. Department of
Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, DOT-HS-
807-280, Washington, D.C.
Pentilla, A., Tenhu, M., and Kataja, M. (1971). Clinical Examination For Intoxication
In Cases of Suspected Drunken Driving. Statistical and Research Bureau of
TALJA. Iso Roobertinkatu 20, Helsinki, Finland.
Stuster, J.W. (1997). The Detection of DWI at BACs Below 0.10. U.S. Department of
Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Final Report
(in press).
Stuster, J.W. (1993). The Detection of DWI Motorcyclists. U.S. Department of
Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Final Report
DOT-HS-807-839.
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Validation of the SFST Battery at BACs Below 0.10 Percent
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Tharp, V., Burns, M., and Moskowitz, H. (1981). Development and Field Test of
Psychophysical Tests for DWI Arrest. U.S. Department of Transportation,
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Final Report DOT-HS-805-
864, Washington, D.C.
Wilkinson, I.M.S., Kime, R., and Purnell, M. (1974). Alcohol and human eye
movement. Brain, 97, 785-792.
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APPENDIX A
STANDARDIZED FIELD SOBRIETY TESTING
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STANDARDIZED FIELD SOBRIETY TESTING
The Standardized Field Sobriety Test (SFST) is a battery of three tests administered
and evaluated in a standardized manner to obtain validated indicators of
impairment and establish probable cause for arrest. These tests were developed as a
result of research sponsored by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
(NHTSA) and conducted by the Southern California Research Institute. A formal
program of training was developed and is available through NHTSA to help police
officers become more skillful at detecting DWI suspects, describing the behavior of
these suspects, and presenting effective testimony in court. Formal administration
and accreditation of the program is provided through the International Association
of Chiefs of Police (IACP). The three tests of the SFST are:
• Horizontal gaze nystagmus (HGN),
• Walk-and-turn, and
• One-leg stand.
These tests are administered systematically and are evaluated according to
measured responses of the suspect.
HGN TESTING
Horizontal gaze nystagmus is an involuntary jerking of the eye which occurs
naturally as the eyes gaze to the side. Under normal circumstances, nystagmus
occurs when the eyes are rotated at high peripheral angles. However, when a person
is impaired by alcohol, nystagmus is exaggerated and may occur at lesser angles. An
alcohol-impaired person will also often have difficulty smoothly tracking a moving
object. In the HGN test, the officer observes the eyes of a suspect as the suspect
follows a slowly moving object such as a pen or small flashlight, horizontally with
his or her eyes. The examiner looks for three indicators of impairment in each eye:
if the eye cannot follow a moving object smoothly, if jerking is distinct when the eye
is at maximum deviation, and if the angle of onset of jerking is within 45 degrees of
center. If, between the two eyes, four or more clues appear, the suspect likely has a
BAC of 0.10 or greater. NHTSA research indicates that this test allows proper
classification of approximately 77 percent of suspects. HGN may also indicate
consumption of seizure medications, phencyclidine, a variety of inhalants,
barbiturates, and other depressants.
WALK AND TURN
The walk-and-turn test and one-leg stand test are “divided attention” tests
that are easily performed by most unimpaired people. They require a suspect to
listen to and follow instructions while performing simple physical movements.
Impaired persons have difficulty with tasks requiring their attention to be divided
between simple mental and physical exercises.
In the walk-and-turn test, the subject is directed to take nine steps, heel-to-toe,
along a straight line. After taking the steps, the suspect must turn on one foot and
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return in the same manner in the opposite direction. The examiner looks for eight
indicators of impairment: if the suspect cannot keep balance while listening to the
instructions, begins before the instructions are finished, stops while walking to
regain balance, does not touch heel-to-toe, steps off the line, uses arms to balance,
makes an improper turn, or takes an incorrect number of steps. NHTSA research
indicates that 68 percent of individuals who exhibit two or more indicators in the
performance of the test will have a BAC of 0.10 or greater.
ONE LEG STAND
In the one-leg stand test, the suspect is instructed to stand with one foot
approximately six inches off the ground and count aloud by thousands (One
thousand-one, one thousand-two, etc.) until told to put the foot down. The officer
times the subject for 30 seconds. The officer looks for four indicators of impairment,
including swaying while balancing, using arms to balance, hopping to maintain
balance, and putting the foot down. NHTSA research indicates that 65 percent of
individuals who exhibit two or more such indicators in the performance of the test
will have a BAC of 0.10 of greater.
COMBINED MEASURES
NHTSA’s SFST training materials instruct officers in the use of the following
decision table for combining the results of the HGN and Walk and Turn test.
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
0
0 1 2 3 4 5 6
Walk and Turn Clues
HGN Clues
Along the top of the table, circle the number of the
subject's HGN clues. Along the left side of the table,
circle the number of the subject's Walk and Turn clues.
Draw a line down from the number of HGN clues and
a line across from the number of Walk and Turn clues.
If the intersection is within the shaded area, the subject
has a BAC ³0.10 percent.