Law Enforcement Officers Refresh on Field Sobriety Tests

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COLUMBIA - Mid-Missouri law enforcement met Monday for instruction on how to conduct field sobriety tests.

Law enforcement personnel from Hallsville, Columbia, Fayette and other Missouri towns met at the Stoney Creek Inn to go over standards for field sobriety tests.

The course went over three tests in detail: the "horizontal gaze nystagmus" or eye test, the "walk and turn" test and the "one leg stand" test. All three of these tests can illuminate signs that indicate whether a person is under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

According to a 2008 report from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, men are twice as likely to drive under the influence of alcohol. Also, an estimated 32 million people reported they had driven at least once in the past year under the influence of alcohol. Of the 32 million, an estimated 30 percent were less than 21 years old.

The course provided officers with standards for sobriety tests to create an opportunity for officers to identify drivers who may be guilty of driving under the influence and it also allows people wrongly accused to fight the charge.

"It creates fairness. I mean that's the bottom line. By creating those standards everyone conducts the test the same way. And it makes it so that when we encounter a potential DUI. That person is tested in a fair and equitable way. To make sure that we are seeing the things we need to see," Scott Friedlein, an underage drinking enforcement consultant, said.