NHTSA eliminated behavior cues or purported alcohol impairment clues of flushed/red face, bloodshot/droopy/glassy/watery/glazed/sleepy/confused eyes, disheveled appearance, inattentive/uncooperative, lighthearted/humorous, as they might be social class indicators or subjective

Beginning in 1993, Jack Struster, of Anacapa Sciences, Inc., began a two-phase report as Commissioned by NHTSA to determine if there were behaviors of individuals which could be used by officers to accurately identify motorists who are driving while impaired.

This research culminated in the publication of The Detection of DWI at BAC’s Below 0.10, DOTHS 808 654 (Stuster, September 1997).

Stuster noted that some cues or clues were eliminated because they might be indicators more of social class than of alcohol impairment.

He reported that while flushed or red-faced might be an indication of alcohol impairment in some people, they determined that this was open to subjective interpretation and could be due to allergies or caused by outdoor work. Thus, a flushed or red face was eliminated as a clue or cue.

Similarly, bloodshot eyes was determined to be associated with alcohol consumption but that was open to subjective interpretation which could be an associated trait of shift workers and people who must work more than one job, as well as individuals who might be afflicted with allergies. Therefore, bloodshot eyes were eliminated as a clue or cue.

The attempt of the study was to limit the recommended clues or cues to clear and objective post-stop observations and behavior.

“Finally, some clues of impairment were eliminated because they might be indicators more of social class than of alcohol impairment. For example, the interview and archival research indicated that a flushed or red face might be an indication of alcohol-impairment in some people. However, a flushed or red face or bloodshot eyes are open to subjective interpretation and could be due to allergies or caused by outdoor work.

A disheveled appearance similarly is open to subjective interpretation. We attempted to limit the recommendations to clear and objective post-stop behaviors.”

In all, Stuster eliminated a disheveled appearance, flushed face, bloodshot or droopy eyes, glassy, watery or glazed eyes, appearing sleepy or confused, being inattentive to the officer or being uncooperative with the officer, and being lighthearted, humorous or jovial as clues which should be considered by law enforcement officers to indicate that an individual was driving while impaired. Id at 14 and Appendix E, page 10.

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