The Walk-and-Turn is a "divided attention" test, in that it requires you to listen to and follow instructions while performing simple physical movements. In this test, you are directed to take nine steps, heel-to-toe, along a straight line. Then you must turn on one foot and return in the same manner in the opposite direction. The officer looks for eight indicators of impairment:

  • if the suspect cannot keep balance while listening to the instructions
  • begins before the instructions are finished
  • stops while walking to regain balance
  • does not touch heel-to-toe
  • steps off the line
  • uses arms to balance
  • makes an improper turn, or
  • takes an incorrect number of steps.

Research conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) indicates that 79 percent of individuals who exhibit two or more indicators in the performance of the test will have a BAC of 0.08 or higher.

However, other conditions can cause a bad result with this test, such as a knee injury, memory impairment, or other problems with cognitive function or coordination. An officer should ask you if you have any conditions that could interfere with the test.

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Steven J. Richardson
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Bankruptcy, Collections, Student Loan, DUI and Traffic Court attorney in Woodbury, NJ.

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