As it has been mentioned previously in this blog, summer is a high point for drunk driving across the country, Tennessee included. Law enforcement officials in every state routinely employ a variety of methods to catch drunk drivers before they can seriously injure or kill others on the road. These may include setting up checkpoints during peak drunk driving times, pulling over drivers who are driving erratically or conducting field sobriety tests.

What exactly is a field sobriety test? According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there are numerous signs that can point to intoxication, which police officers are trained to spot in a field sobriety test. During a traffic stop, an officer who suspects someone has been driving while intoxicated may ask him or her to perform any of the following actions:

  • Walking in a straight line without losing balance or holding arms out, then turning and walking back in the same direction
  • Standing on one foot and counting for at least 30 seconds without swaying or falling over
  • Looking straight ahead so the officer can check the eyes for certain movements that signal intoxication

Police may also suspect a driver has been drinking if he or she slurs while talking, has bloodshot eyes or has breath that smells like alcohol.

Last year, states Mothers Against Drunk Driving, 277 people lost their lives in drunk driving accidents in Tennessee. This represented 27.8 percent of all traffic deaths in the state that year. Field sobriety tests and other measures exist to protect more people from being victimized by drunk drivers.


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