What is a standardized field sobriety test?
A standardized field sobriety test (SFST) is a police tool to help the officer try to identify an intoxicated driver. The three SFSTs are as follows:
- The horizontal gaze nystagmus (HGN) test
- The one-leg stand test
- The walk and turn test
These three tests were developed by researchers funded by the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). According to those researchers, a failure of any of the tests means the person has an alcohol concentration of .08 or more. Of importance is the fact that there is a great ongoing debate about the validity, accuracy, and reliability of both the researchers’ conclusions and their tests.
There is no implied consent requirement that a person submit to a law enforcement officer’s request to take these SFSTs or any other police motor skill coordination exercise. Indeed, many knowledgeable people refer to the SFSTs as nothing more than “roadside gymnastics.”