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What do police officers look for when searching for drunk drivers on the highways?

* Some material below used with the permission of master DUI Defense Attorney Lawrence Taylor

1. What do police officers look for when searching for drunk drivers on the highways?

Most DUI arrests occur at night and on week-ends. The following is a list of symptoms in descending order of probability that the person observed is driving while intoxicated while driving at night. The list is based upon research conducted by the National Highway Traffic Administration (NHTSA):

1. Turning with a wide radius
2. Straddling center of lane marker
3. "Appearing to be drunk"
4. Almost striking object or vehicle
5. Weaving
6. Driving on other than designated highway
7. Swerving
8. Speed more than 10 mph below limit
9. Stopping without cause in traffic lane
10. Following too closely
11. Drifting
12. Tires on center or lane marker
13. Braking erratically
14. Driving into opposing or crossing traffic
15. Signaling inconsistent with driving actions
16. Slow response to traffic signals
17. Stopping inappropriately (other than in lane)
18. Turning abruptly or illegally
19. Accelerating or decelerating rapidly
20. Headlights off

Interestingly, Speeding has not been identified by NHTSA as an indicator of impairment. However, it is a common prosecution tactic to argue that speeding is "risk taking" behavior suggestive of diminished judgment occasioned by alcohol consumption. In reality, most police officers will admit that totally sober persons drive 10 miles over the posted speed limit late at night when the traffic is light.

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