Field sobriety tests are questionable in the first place because the decision to arrest someone is left to the discretion of the officer, which is why they created breathalyzers to provide definitive proof of an intoxicated driver. Equivalent affordable and user friendly technology to test for high drivers has not been invented yet, so officers are forced to use field sobriety tests to determine whether a driver is under the psychoactive influence of marijuana.
Volunteers in California are getting high in a tent and then coming out for authorities to test them to look for signs of being stoned. Officers in California are stopping, citing and arresting more drivers that are impaired by marijuana recently.
“Approximately 75 percent of the DUI arrests that I make nowadays are drug impaired — more specifically to cannabis than alcohol,” said Glendale Police Officer Bryan Duncan.
The volunteer users took field sobriety tests at the beginning of the evening, then went into a tent and smoked marijuana. When they went back and took the same field sobriety tests, officers could see if there were any changes in their mental or physical abilities.
“Whether it’s lack of convergence in the eyes, divided attention issues, your ability to do two tasks at one time,” said Duncan.
Chris Halsor — who started running green labs like this in Colorado when marijuana became legal there — hopes the exercises will help Californians figure out how to maintain public safety in their new environment.
“It’s different for everyone. If you’re an avid user and you use it more, it’s going to affect you a little bit differently,” said marijuana user Sebastian Dominguez.
Field sobriety tests like these are likely to be fought in court and leave officers with a need for a breathalyzer-like technology for marijuana users. What are your thoughts on field sobriety tests for marijuana users behind the wheel?