Why are standardized field sobriety tests most common?

On Behalf of | Feb 7, 2020 | dui defense |

Georgia law enforcement officers have many DUI detection tools. The first line of testing is often field sobriety testing. There are two categories of these tests: non-standardized and standardized. Today we will discuss standardized field sobriety tests. In specific, we will see why they are more common than their counterpart. 

FieldSobrietyTests.org has information on all aspects of field sobriety tests. They take a look at both standardized and non-standardized field sobriety tests. Of the two, standardized tests are more common. Why is this? It is because standardized tests have a higher success rate than non-standardized ones. When field sobriety testing was first introduced, the accuracy level was not very high. Standardization fixed part of this problem. 

There are three standardized field sobriety tests. They include the walk-and-turn, the one-leg stand and the horizontal gaze nystagmus. These tests have the same rubric used across all states. This is what makes them standardized. Since judgment is not left up to officer discretion, it is easier to get a read on a person’s sobriety level. These tests still average about 70 percent accuracy. When officers use all three tests together, the accuracy rate raises to around 80 percent or a bit higher. 

Field sobriety test results are often used together with other pieces of evidence. Even standardized test results are not used as stand-alone evidence. But the more reliable a test result is, the more likely it is for prosecutors to use it. This is why officers lean toward standardized tests. Their results are more widely accepted and more accurate on a whole.