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Field Sobriety Test questions

My 65 yo father got pulled over Saturday night and they did a field sobriety test.  He is 65 on the side of a highway.  Without his glasses he couldn't even see the finger to follow.  Needless to say he failed the field test.  After being cuffed and driven to the station and a bunch of other stuff they gave him the breathalyzer and he blew a 0.018. 

So it just got me wondering about a couple of things.  I assumed each patrol car would have a breathalyzer, I guess that's not true.  I wonder why though? 

Also, do you think they should/do have alternate tests for people that might be older or have some sort of disability?  If you ask my dad about his sight he'll say "I have the big E memorized."  And that's the truth. 

I know the patrolman was doing his job.  It just seems everyone would have been helped if they had just gone straight to a breathalyzer or a modified test.

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Re: Field Sobriety Test questions

  • They didn't let him wear his glasses? Seriously my mom at 25 (she's 60 now but if anything getting older has only improved her vision) wouldn't have been able to see the finger without her glasses.

    Or was he not wearing glasses? Because really, if his vision is that bad he has no business at all driving without glasses. 

    I guess I assumed all police cars had breathalyzers too. 

  • He was wearing his glasses, but had to take them off for the test.  The man doesn't get out of bed without wearing his glasses.  His safety lenses are so thick he can't fold the arms of the glasses.

    The last time he was pulled over was July 4, 1977.  I'm sure he was scared to death too. 

  • did the officer make him take them off for the test? if so, i'd get a good lawyer and a statement from your eye dr that the glasses are absolutely totally necessary.
  • Yeah, they should definitely let him wear the glasses. I mean take them off for a few minutes if they want to see your eyes or whatever but for the actual test part let them wear their glasses.

    Or better yet, go for something more accurate like the breathalyzer right away and skip the stupid test.

  • did they charge him? and ditto get a lawyer
  • He was never charged and they let him go with a warning.

    The longer story- 3 of them went out to dinner and shared a bottle of wine.  He was going down the highway and the speed changed from 65 to 55.  He didn't slow down and got pulled over for going 66 in a 55.  (that's right he was originally doing 66 in a 65)

    Dad admitted he had wine with dinner so of course they did the sobriety tests.  I don't fault the patrolman for doing his job.  I just question how accurate it really was in this particular situation.  A situation that I'm sure occurs quite often.

  • Interesting. I was also under the assumption that all vehicles had a breathalyzer. Since he didn't have too much to drink, did your father claim that he wasn't drinking or perhaps refuse to take a breathalyzer? In our state you can refuse it initially and choose to take the field sobriety test.
  • Breathalyzers are expensive, have to be calibrated regularly, and the person administering it has to be trained to do so- those expenses are generally too much to have one in every car out. I know that in NYC, only one or two police stations per borough have a breathalyzer at the station house- if you are suspected of DWI, the officers will transport you to the breathalyzer, and trained personnel will administer it.

    I do think that it is strange that they did the field test without his glasses. Was he charged? If so, based on the results of the breathalyzer, he needs to get a lawyer to fight it.

  • They didn't even perform a breathalyzer until they got back to the station.
  • I guess I always assumed they have a breathalyzer in each car since I know they do in Sweden. In fact when I think about it it might even be one breathalyzer per police officer, I seem to remember seing them hanging from their belts.

    Then again, the laws for drinking and driving are much stricter there - the legal limit is 0.02. You don't even have one beer or one glass of wine if you are drinking there. 

  • image Brit1017:

    Breathalyzers are expensive, have to be calibrated regularly, and the person administering it has to be trained to do so- those expenses are generally too much to have one in every car out. I know that in NYC, only one or two police stations per borough have a breathalyzer at the station house- if you are suspected of DWI, the officers will transport you to the breathalyzer, and trained personnel will administer it.

    I do think that it is strange that they did the field test without his glasses. 

    Ditto all of that.  Why did his glasses come off?  That part just doesn't make sense to me.  I have never known removal of glasses to be part of FSTs.  I'm sorry it was probably so traumatic for him, did he try to explain (respectfully, but firmly) that he needs his glasses?

  • Mrs.H.Mrs.H.
    Ancient Membership 2500 Comments Combo Breaker 5 Love Its
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    stories like this are the reason I will not drive if I have had even a sip of alcohol.
  • Have you ridden with him driving lately? Perhaps there is more to the story than what he is telling you. I doubt an officer would have pulled him over unless he was driving erratically.
  • PS, in my state, if you can't see the big E, you are legally blind and cannot drive at all, regardless of whether or not you have glasses.
  • College- my father is perfectly fine to drive.  In fact I think he's probably a better driver than 95% of society.  He was pulled over initially for speeding (66 in a 55).  With his glasses he can see 20/20.
  • image CollegeGrrl219:
    PS, in my state, if you can't see the big E, you are legally blind and cannot drive at all, regardless of whether or not you have glasses.
    Eh, I'm in Illinois and DH is legally blind. He chooses not to but he could get a daytime license with a special telescope lens.
    Ritzy Heifer
  • amambaamamba
    10000 Comments Combo Breaker
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    I wouldn't be able to follow a finger without my glasses/contacts either.

    If I was him, I would be pissed that I was cuffed and given a warning, even if he wasn't charged. What the hell was the warning for? going 11 mph over the speed limit? that is BS.

    imageCurly Tail Pug Rescue
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  • SisugalSisugal
    10000 Comments Seventh Anniversary 100 Love Its Combo Breaker
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    Was he not wearing his glasses while driving???  I am also one of those people who can't see the big E without my glasses, but there is no way I drive without them.   65 is NOT that old .  
  • image Brit1017:

    Breathalyzers are expensive, have to be calibrated regularly, and the person administering it has to be trained to do so.

    Ditto. Also, the person who is taking the breathalyzer test has to be constant observation for at least 15 minutes before the test is administered, to watch for sneezing, burping, gum chewing ... anything that can alter the results of the breath test.

    Most officers carry what is known as a PAS device in their cars. It's a preliminary screening device that uses breath. However, it is not admissible in court the way a breathalyzer is, so even with a high BAC result on that device the suspected drunk driver has to be taken down to the station for a blood or breathalyzer test.

  • image Sweden+Canada:

    They didn't let him wear his glasses? Seriously my mom at 25 (she's 60 now but if anything getting older has only improved her vision) wouldn't have been able to see the finger without her glasses.

    Or was he not wearing glasses? Because really, if his vision is that bad he has no business at all driving without glasses. 

    I guess I assumed all police cars had breathalyzers too. 

    I agree with this.  

    I am very blind without my glasses, but I see 20/20 or nearly that good with them.

    I think they should have alternate tests for someone who is physically unable to complete the exams, but I do not think vision should be an exception.

  • I think the moral of the story is your dad needs to make sure he has up-to-date glasses and wear them all.the.time.  Especially while driving.
  • image kcpokergal:
    I think the moral of the story is your dad needs to make sure he has up-to-date glasses and wear them all.the.time.  Especially while driving.

    ?  She said he was wearing his glasses and was told to take them off for the test.  

  • image count the stars:

    image kcpokergal:
    I think the moral of the story is your dad needs to make sure he has up-to-date glasses and wear them all.the.time.  Especially while driving.

    ?  She said he was wearing his glasses and was told to take them off for the test.  

    I read through and totally missed that post.  That is just very weird.

  • Did he have to take his glasses off for all the tests (they usually do 2-4) or just for the horizontal gaze nystagmus test?  I can definitely see why the officer would need the glasses off for that if they are so thick.  In that test, you are told to follow a pen held away from your face to see if your eyes track (move back and forth) smoothly or jump.  Jumping is an indication of intoxication.  If his glasses are as thick as you described, the officer would not have been able to see his eyes through the lenses as they tracked.

    But all this appears to be moot if he wasn't charged with anything.

  • image kcpokergal:
    image count the stars:

    image kcpokergal:
    I think the moral of the story is your dad needs to make sure he has up-to-date glasses and wear them all.the.time.  Especially while driving.

    ?  She said he was wearing his glasses and was told to take them off for the test.  

    I read through and totally missed that post.  That is just very weird.

    Yeah.  So strange.  I would talk to a lawyer about it.

  • My sis is and eye doc.  We probably have better/more up to date scripts than anyone.  He had to take the glasses off for the nys....test, but was wearing them while driving.  Apparently this is a VERY accurate test and a well trained officer can administer it with a high degree of accurace.

    I told them they should at least right an FYI letter- FYI maybe not the best place to give a field test.  Maybe consider age or eyesight as a factor or just take people in.

    To clarify- not a complaint letter.  Even my dad says the cop was just doing his job.  The cop was never belligerent or really outside of his duties.

  • I'm confused.  You think he shouldn't have had to take his glasses off for the horizontal gaze nystagmus test?  The test doesn't test how well he can see but looks to see how his eyes move.  If the officer can't see his eyes, the test cannot be performed.  He simply can't wear thick glasses for it.

  • image thedutchgirl:

    I'm confused.  You think he shouldn't have had to take his glasses off for the horizontal gaze nystagmus test?  The test doesn't test how well he can see but looks to see how his eyes move.  If the officer can't see his eyes, the test cannot be performed.  He simply can't wear thick glasses for it.

    Exactly.  It has NOTHING to do with vision, but to see whether or not your eyes jerk when they move.  There's also a decent percentage of the population whose eyes ahve pathological nystagmus, regardless of alcohol intake.  Therefore, it's not the definitive test for SFTs anyway.  I believe a person has to fail something like three of the five tests administered, so the whole issue is moot.

  • well, then maybe they need a different test.  If you cannot see the finger, how can you follow it? if you cant see the eyes, then you cant do the test, but if you can see the eyes but they cant see the finger, then it is also a useless test
    image
  • You hold the pen or finger 12-15 inches from the person's face.  If someone cannot see that without glasses, I'm not sure that person should be driving at all.
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