Driving while intoxicated (DWI) is a serious offense in Texas, and if you are pulled over on suspicion of drunk driving, you may be asked to perform a field sobriety test, such as the walk and turn test. This test is one of the standardized tests used by law enforcement officers to determine if a driver is under the influence of alcohol or drugs. However, there are many factors that can affect the validity of the test, and it is important to understand how it is supposed to be administered.
The Walk and Turn Test
The walk and turn test is a divided attention test that requires a driver to walk a straight line, turn, and walk back. The test is designed to measure a driver's ability to follow instructions and maintain balance, and it is one of three standardized field sobriety tests that have been approved by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
How the Test is Administered
During the walk and turn test, the officer will instruct the driver to stand with their feet together and their arms at their sides. The officer will then demonstrate how to perform the test, which involves taking nine heel-to-toe steps in a straight line, turning on one foot, and taking nine more heel-to-toe steps back to the starting position.
The driver is supposed to count each step out loud and keep their arms at their sides. The officer will be looking for several indicators of impairment, including:
- Starting the test before the instructions are finished
- Losing balance while listening to the instructions
- Failing to touch heel-to-toe
- Stepping off the line
- Using arms to balance
- Taking the wrong number of steps
- Failing to turn correctly
- Factors That Can Affect the Validity of the Test
There are many factors that can affect the validity of the walk and turn test, and it is important to understand these factors if you have been charged with a DWI. Some of the factors that can affect the validity of the test include:
Medical conditions: Certain medical conditions, such as inner ear problems or back pain, can affect a driver's ability to perform the test.
Footwear: The test is designed to be performed in flat shoes or barefoot. If a driver is wearing high heels or other types of footwear, it can affect their ability to perform the test.
Road conditions: If the test is performed on uneven or slippery terrain, it can affect a driver's ability to maintain balance and follow instructions.
Weather conditions: Wind, rain, or other weather conditions can affect a driver's ability to perform the test.
Nervousness or anxiety: If a driver is nervous or anxious, it can affect their ability to perform the
Age and weight: Older drivers and overweight drivers may have difficulty performing the test due to physical limitations.
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