Police officers are trained to look for certain behaviors and visuals when
choosing people to pull over for
drunk driving. But what are these visuals that give officers “reasonable suspicion”
enough to lawfully pull over a vehicle?
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (or NHTSA) has created
a list of 24 visual driving cues that could indicate that an individual’s
BAC could be above the legal limit.
These 24 cues have been divided into four groups:
- Judgement problems
- Vigilance problems
- Braking and speed problems
- Problems maintaining lane position
These problems indicate that the driver is too impaired to determine safe
driving behaviors appropriately. Visual clues can include following other
cars too closely, jerky and unsafe motions, unsafe lane changes, or stopping
inappropriately at the sight of an officer.
These problems indicate that the driver’s state is impairing his
or her ability to notice and react to the surroundings. Driving without
headlights, responding slowly to stop signs or traffic lights, and failing
to use the blinkers are all signs that alcohol or drugs have impacted
the driver’s ability to recognize the surrounding around them.
Braking and Speed Problems
Stopping and going are notorious problems for drunk drivers. Stopping suddenly,
speeding, and driving too slowly are all visual cues that officers look
for when searching for drivers with BAC levels .08% or higher.
Problems Maintaining Lane Position
Much like with judgment and vigilance problems, drunk drivers have a difficult
time maintaining a proper lane position. This includes weaving, straddling
lanes, drifting, swerving, and almost colliding with other cars or pedestrians.
If you demonstrate any of these visual cues, an officer may have reasonable
suspicion to believe that you are driving under the influence. With probable
cause, an officer can lawfully pull you over.
If you have been arrested for a DUI,
contact our Ventura DUI defense lawyer at The Law Offices of Robert F. Sommers today.