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Why are standardized field sobriety tests different?

| Jul 1, 2021 | DUI | 0 comments

Officers have many tools they can use when determining whether or not a driver has hit the road under the influence. One of the first you will likely deal with is field sobriety tests. There are two types: standardized and non-standardized.

But what sets the two apart? You are most likely to face a standardized test as well, but why is that the case?

Getting rid of wiggle room for bias

VeryWell Mind looks at field sobriety test assessments. Standardized field sobriety tests came into being for a very specific reason: to cut down on officer bias. Field sobriety tests are not a scientific unit of measurement to start with. But without any form of standardization, the results of these tests boiled down to how each individual officer interpreted a driver’s reactions.

In other words, it left plenty of room for inherent bias to wiggle its way into test results. For example, an officer might end up more lenient with someone of their own race while giving harsher judgments to those of different races.

Forms of standardized tests

Standardization entered the playing field in an attempt to help cut back on some of this bias. There are three forms of standardized field sobriety tests. Each one follows the same unified rubric across all states. This means officers have a non-biased template to judge test results with.

Unfortunately, these tests are still a very loose way of measuring sobriety. This is why most officers just use it to test the waters. They will often decide whether or not to go forward with further tests based on whether you pass or fail. In other words, do not feel too anxious about test results, but take them seriously.

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