When officers conduct routine traffic stops or DUI-related stops, they can and will pull drivers just like you over for everything from a slight swerve to an outdated tab on your license plate. Once they do this, they can utilize tools like standardized field sobriety tests (SFSTs) to determine your sobriety levels.
But did you know that even if you have not been drinking, other factors can actually end up causing you to fail an SFST? In fact, many cases where people fail actually involve factors completely outside of their control, and that may happen to you.
Healthline starts by listing some conditions that can cause balance problems. First, external conditions can factor into this as well, such as getting pulled over on an uneven or slanted portion of the road. But your balance also ends up affected by health conditions at times, or even the type of medication you take. Some examples can include high or low blood pressure, ear infections or motion sickness. In addition, facing a test run by police can also cause you situational stress and anxiety, which may contribute to physical and mental difficulties.
As mentioned, the terrain can also affect your balance. First, it is often darker outside when you get pulled over because many DUI patrols operate at night. The road will have bumps and divots, and the lights from the squad car can also make it harder to see. If you were out celebrating or working, your shoes might even further contribute to your balance issues.
Finally, administrator error can give you trouble. Officers are just as human as you, and they might administer the test poorly or use equipment that is faulty, broken or not calibrated properly. Test accuracy ratings average from 65 percent to 77 percent anyway, meaning they are not foolproof. If you fail one, you should know you have plenty of avenues to poke holes in this judgment.