Changes To The 2013 NHTSA Standardized Field Sobriety Test Manual
There is a new NHTSA Standardized Field Sobriety Test training manual and it is significantly changed from prior versions. Included is the new focus of law enforcement on impairing drugs. The new information lays the groundwork for full implementation of the Drug Recognition Expert protocol now making its way into Ohio law.
This article will focus on the changes in a format that follows the NHTSA Standardized Field Sobriety Test training manual text, session by session. Full versions of the NHTSA DUI training manual are available at various sources on the internet. This article incorporates the work of various authors and compliers to whom credit is due. Unfortunately, I did not find proper attribution in the materials. Thank you for your hard work in helping address the new manual.
2013 NHTSA Changes
-Curriculum is in a new PDF Format. The Instructor guide includes all of the information contained in the Participant Manual, including each of the PowerPoint slides.
-Old 2008 data and statistical information was updated with 2010 and 2011 data using the NHTSA Fact Sheets and Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration Data.
-The word “many” was replaced with “all” when referring to states with .08 DWI limit.
-The data and the definition related on an “alcohol-related crash” were revised to read: “Alcohol-impaired crash” per NHTSA, refers to a driver with a .08 percent BAC or higher. In 2010, 28% of all fatally injured motorcycle operators had a BAC of .08 or higher. In 2010, the 25-34 year old group constituted 34% of all alcohol impaired driving fatalities in the U.S. (NHTSA Trffic Safety Facts, 2010 Data, DOT HS 811 606.)
-The information regarding traffic fatalities was revised to read that on the average, a traffic fatality occurs every 51 minutes. Source: NHTSA Traffic Safety Facts, 2010 Data, Alcohol-Impaired Driving, DOT HS 811 606, April 2012.
-Additional Alcohol Facts were added to reflect the current statistics and the involvement of high BAC drivers (0.15+).
-More details were added concerning Illegal Per Se laws. Also, major court decisions concerning the admissibility of HGN testimony were added to the PowerPoint slides.
-Additional PowerPoint slides were added concerning note-taking and report writing.
-The acronym “DUI” in this session and in other areas of the curriculum was changed to “DWI” to be consistent throughout.
-The descriptive information for the “Sliding Sports Car” was revised to be consistent with the new version of this video. New information was added for the instructors to solicit from the students as it relates to the sliding sports car during the driving and stopping sequence.
-The word “roadblock” was removed and replaced with the word “checkpoint” to be consistent with Sobriety Checkpoints.
-The video of the “Busy Businessman” was replaced and the information listed in this session was revised to be consistent with the new video.
-The video of “Busy Businessman Exiting” was also updated with a new video. The descriptive information was replaced with the new information related to the new video.
-The words “driver” and “drivers” were replaced with the word “subject” to be consistent with other areas of the curricula.
-The photo of an officer doing the Modified Romberg Balance test in the PPT slide was replaced with an officer administering the One Leg Stand test. The Modified Romberg Balance test is a test used for DRE and not SFST.
-References directing the instructor to show “extras” referring to an additional video were removed as there are no extra videos.
-All references to “Romberg balance” were changed to “Modified Romberg Balance” to be consistent with ARIDE and DRE.
-Information regarding the field validation studies parameters concerning correct vs. incorrect decisions was added to help clarify the methodology of the studies.
-Additional information regarding the San Diego, CA SFST study entitled, “Validation of the Standardized Field Sobriety Tests Battery at BACs Below 0.10 Percent,” U.S. Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Final Report DOT-HS-808-839. More emphasis is being placed on the San Diego study because of the higher accuracy rates for HGN, Walk and Turn and One Leg Stand and because it is the most recent study.
-The reference to the combining of HGN and Walk and Turn test was removed.
-The word “pathology” in this session was changed to “pathological”.
-A bolded instructor note regarding resting nystagmus was added and reads as follows: “Remind the participants that if Resting Nystagmus is observed, they can continue with the remainder of the test to check for other possible indicators of impairment and any possible indicators of a medical condition.”
-The marble rolling across a polished pane of glass analogy for describing Lack of Smooth pursuit was removed and the only analogy is now the windshield wiper on a wet windshield versus a dry windshield. Object should be moved steadily at a speed that takes approximately two seconds to bring the eye from center to side. Two passes are to be made in front of the eyes.
-Additional wording was added to clarify how to properly score an improper turn during the Walk and Turn Test if the subject being tested turns on the right foot instead of the left foot. The clarification wording added is:
Note: There may be times when the suspect takes a wrong number of steps or begins the heel-to-toe walk with the wrong foot resulting in a turn on the right foot instead of the left. If this occurs, the suspect should be assessed a clue for an incorrect number of steps and not assessed a clue for an improper turn if the turn was made using a series of small steps as instructed and the suspect did not lose his/her balance while attempting the turn. This scoring is consistent with the original research and training conducted by the Southern California Research Institute and with the administration and scoring of the Walk and Turn test in the San Diego Field Study.
-Additional information concerning the test limitations was added to both the Walk and Turn and the One Leg Stand tests. The additional information added is:
The original SCRI studies suggested that individuals over 65 years of age or people with back, leg or inner ear problems had difficulty performing this test. Less than 1.5% of the test subjects in the original study were over 65 years of age. Also, the SCRI studies suggest that individuals wearing heels more than 2 inches high should be given the opportunity to remove their shoes. Officers should consider all factors when conducting SFSTs.
-The words “pointed out” were removed from the PowerPoint slides when giving the instructions for the One Leg Stand test. The correct instructions are “with your raised foot parallel to the ground.” This revision was made to be consistent with other areas of the curriculum and with ARIDE and DRE. Advising to point the foot out was not part of the original OLS instructions.
-The instructor note regarding how officers are to handle those situations where the subject puts his/her foot down during the test was bolded in the Instructor Guide, which matches the description in the SFST guides:
An instructor note has been added reminding the instructor to instruct the students that if the suspect puts his/her foot down during the test, to advise the subject to pick their foot up and to continue counting from where the foot touched the ground/floor. This is not one of the instructions and should only be given if or when the foot touches the ground.
-All references to the third clue of the One Leg Stand test as being “Hops” were replaced with the word “Hopping”.
-A reference was added to address how to properly ensure that a suspect is not facing an officer’s strobe lights and reads as follows: “Note: Try to face the subject away from flashing or strobe lights that could cause visual or other distractions that could impede the test.”
-References to a NHTSA video entitled “Extras” were removed from this session and from the PowerPoint slides.
Session X, XI, XII, XIII, XIV
-No major revisions.
-References to showing the video “Extras” were removed.
Introduction to Drugged Driving Sessions
(This session will now be mandatory to teach and will have a four hour block designated for it added to the POBT curriculum)
The Following revisions were also made to the “introduction to Drugged Driving” session:
-The Glossary of Terms was updated to be consistent with ARIDE and where applicable with DRE. As an example, the Hippus definition was removed.
-The definition of drug was corrected to reflect ARIDE and Dre definition.
-The reference to “major drug categories” was revised to the “seven drug categories.”
-Dextromethorphan (DXM) was added to the Dissociative Anesthetics drug category.
-Synthetic Cannabinoids was added to the Cannabis category.
-Drug use data and statistics were updated.
-References to “normal” when addressing pupil size were changed to read, “will not be effected” to be consistent with ARIDE and DRE.
-Wording for the four effects of drugs (Null, Overlapping, Additive and Antagonistic) was revised to be more consistent with ARIDE and DRE.
–More changes are possible due to errors and omissions when the material is circulated.
Charles M. Rowland II dedicates his practice to defending the accused drunk driver in the Miami Valley and throughout Ohio. He has the credentials and the experience to win your case and has made himself Dayton’s choice for drunk driving defense. Contact Charles Rowland by phone at (937) 318-1384 or toll-free at 1-888-ROWLAND (888-769-5263). If you need assistance after hours, call the 24/7 DUI Hotline at (937) 776-2671. You can have DaytonDUI at your fingertips by downloading the DaytonDUI Android App or have DaytonDUI sent directly to your mobile device by texting DaytonDUI (one word) to 50500. Follow DaytonDUI on Facebook, @DaytonDUI on Twitter, YouTube, Tumblr, Pheed and Pintrest or get RSS of the Ohio DUI blog. You can email CharlesRowland@DaytonDUI.com or visit his office at 2190 Gateway Dr., Fairborn, Ohio 45324.
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For more info on Ohio Standardized Field Sobriety Test cases, check these city-specific sites at the following links: