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Bay Area Criminal Defense Blog

Don't Make Yourself a Target for DUI.

Posted by Lynn Gorelick | Oct 23, 2013 | 0 Comments

Did you ever stop to think just what the California Highway Patrol and other law enforcement agencies look for before deciding to pull someone over for a DUI? If you know what they're looking for, you can avoid making yourself look like a target for their traffic stops. What you know now can save you later!

DUI Driving Symptoms used by agencies to detect Drunk Drivers while on patrol

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, or NHTSA (a Federal agency,part of the Department of Transportation), has published a list of alleged DUI driving symptoms that the California Highway Patrol and other agencies use in training their officers to detect drunk drivers while they are driving on patrol. This NHTSA list (DOT HS-805-711) often serves as a sort of checklist for law enforcement officers in deciding who to pull over, and who not to. Look at this list carefully. Following each indicator is a percentage figure that – according to NHTSA – tells the officer how likely it is that this means the driver is under the influence. For example, NHTSA claims that “65 times out of 100,” a driver who displays the first indicator (“Turning with a wide radius”) will be driving under the influence.

NHTSA - indicators that a driver may be under the influence %
Turning with a wide radius 65
Straddling the center line or lane marker 65
”Appearing to be drunk” 60
Almost striking an object or vehicle 60
Weaving 60
Driving on other than a designated roadway 55
Swerving 55
Slow speed (more than 10mph below limit) 50
Stopping (without cause) in a traffic lane 50
Drifting 50
Following another vehicle too closely 45
Tires on the center line or lane marker 45
Braking erratically 45
Driving into opposing or crossing traffic 45
Signaling is inconsistent with driving actions 40
Stopping inappropriately (other than in lane) 35
Turning abruptly or illegally 35
Accelerating or decelerating rapidly 30
Headlights off 30

NHTSA further claims — and police officers are taught — that there is also a quick and-easy formula if the officer sees more than one indicator: “When two or more cues are seen, add 10 percent to the highest value among the cues observed.”In other words, if you straddle the lane marker and your headlights are off, the government says there is a 75 percent chance the driver is under the influence!

About the Author

Lynn Gorelick

Lynn Gorelick has been an attorney for 30 years. She is the Attorney Lynn Gorelick is the President of the California DUI Lawyers Association and a Faculty and Sustaining member of the National College of DUI Defense.

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