Articles Tagged with walk-and-turn

The Walk and Turn, Heel toe test one of the most common SFST’s administered in Washington State. A person will first listen to instructions, then walk in a straight line to show divided attention between mental tasks and physical tasks. The mental tasks include comprehension of verbal instructions, processing of information, and recall of memory. The physical tasks include balance and coordination while standing still, walking, and turning. The test is administered in two stages, the instruction phase and the walking phase. Both are required.

During the instruction phase, the officer will instruct the individual not to start walking until told to do so and to stand erect with their right foot in front of their left.

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The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration uses a few tests that are known as the Standardized Field Sobriety Tests. These have been reviewed and developed for the purpose of assessing which drivers are under the influence of alcohol while operating a vehicle. The NHTSA has given their stamp of approval for these tests and they have undergone research to determine the level of accuracy for each one. The tests that are used include the One-Leg-Stand, the HGN test and the Walk-and Turn test.

This last one is known by many people and has even been shown in numerous movies, though the details of it are not always accurate. The test has a number of specific rules that will be explained to a suspect and they will need to be carried out in order to pass. The suspect will need to walk a straight line for nine steps, putting one foot directly in front of the other heel-to-toe. After they have gone far enough they will need to turn around on one foot and come back in the same way. This test reviews their ability to divide their attention between performing the physical movements and carrying out the instructions that have been given to them. Their coordination will be reviewed by witnessing if they need to use their arms to balance, remember to put one foot in front of the other, make a wrong turn, take the wrong number of steps or step off of the line.

It is stated by the NHTSA that this tests has a 79 percent accuracy rate for determining who has a blood alcohol content level of .08 or more amongst individuals that show two or more of these difficulties during the test. This however, is speculation and does not always prove true on the field. Many innocent suspects are wrongfully accused. Contact Blair & Kim if you have been charged for drinking and driving, including if you failed a field sobriety test.

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