Can my health make it hard to pass a field test?

Jan 12, 2019 | drunk driving

If you are like many people in Ohio, you may have some misconceptions about what happens during a drunk driving investigation. These misconceptions may even include the belief that the testing used by law enforcement officers is foolproof. This is actually quite far from the truth. As explained by, each of the three field tests administered have some level of known inaccuracy. Even when all three tests are used, some potential for error exists.

The one-leg stand test is said to have an accuracy rate of 65 percent while the walk-and-turn test’s accuracy rate is only slightly higher at 68 percent. If you are overweight or have had problems with your knees, legs, hips, back or feet, you may not be able to perform these tests as instructed, putting you at a disadvantage even if you have not been drinking.

The horizontal gaze nystagmus test measures an involuntary jerking of your eyeball. This motion is said to be more pronounced in people after they have consumed alcohol. The test has an accuracy rate of 77 percent. Certain neurological conditions may contribute to erroneous results for this test. The combined accuracy rate of all three field sobriety tests is said to be 82 percent. This still leaves open the possibility that a person may be said to have failed one or more tests incorrectly.

This information is not intended to provide legal advice but is instead meant to give residents in Ohio some facts about field sobriety tests and the various factors that may inhibit their ability to successfully pass them.