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SFST Standardized Field Sobriety Tests

Studies Purporting to Support Accuracy for The Federal Govenment's SFST
(Standardized Field Sobriety Tests)

Psychophysical Tests for DWI Arrests - June 1977 Final Report
Dr. Marcelline Burns (Ph.D) and Dr. Herb Moskowitz (Ph.D)

oAbstract: As part of DWI arrest procedures, tests of alcohol impairment may be used by police officers, either at roadside or in the station. Objectives of this study included evaluation of currently-used tests, development of more sensitive and reliable measures, and the standardization of test administration.

oAll of the 6 tests were found to be alcohol sensitive, and the officers made correct arrest/release decisions for 76% of the participants. Data analysis led to recommendations of a "best" reduced battery of tests which includes examination of balance (One-leg Stand) and walking (Walk-and-Turn), as well as the jerking nystagmus movement of the eyes (Alcohol Gaze Nystagmus).

Development and Field Test of Psychophysical Tests for DWI Arrest- 1981 Final Report
V. Tharp, M. Burns, and H. Moskowitz

oAbstract: Administration and scoring procedures were standardized for a sobriety test battery consisting of the walk-and-turn test, the one leg stand test, and horizontal gaze nystagmus. The effectiveness of the standardized battery was then evaluated in the laboratory and, to a limited extent, in the field.

oTen police officers administered the tests in the laboratory to 297 drinking volunteers with breath alcohol content [BAC] ranging from 0 to 0.18%. The officers were able to classify 81% of these volunteers, on the basis of their test scores, with respect to whether their breath alcohol content were above or below 0.10%. Officer estimates of the breath alcohol content of people they tested differed by 0.03% on the average from the actual breath alcohol content. Reliability for the three test battery ranged from 0.60 to 0.80.

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