Is the Police Officer’s Instruction of the Tests Open to Misinterpretation?
Interviewer: Are there particular things that an officer may say that is commonly misinterpreted or miscommunicated by drivers?
Steve Tomeo: I have a good example of this. On the walk-and-turn test, some officers say, “When I tell you to begin the test, take nine heel-to-toe steps.” You’re pointed in a certain direction and they tell you this nine heel-to-toe steps. Then they tell you to walk back taking nine heel-to-toe steps. Some people, when they hear that they do the nine heel-to-toe steps and then on the next nine heel-to-toe steps they start walking backward.
I think that many people misinterpret that because the officer one, did not give good directions, and if he did and the person misinterpreted it, he did not give a demonstration.
The Police Report May Not Be an Accurate Portrayal of What Transpired During the Driver’s Performance of the Tests
Interviewer: That’s exactly what I was talking about.
Steve Tomeo: I think some officers do things like that and then they conveniently leave out in their report that they told the person that they could put their leg down. Oftentimes, I see on the one-leg stand test that if you start the one-leg stand test and you count up to 1015, and the person puts their leg down, many officers will just stop the test right there.
Actually, according to the NHTSA standard, the officer should tell you, “Okay now you can resume the count,” so you can start all over again but not at one, you start at 15. You can start from the point you left off at.
Many officers don’t mention that to an individual because many individuals do put their foot down. If you put your foot down three times, you’re considered that you didn’t perform the test.
That means you can put your foot down once and resume and you can put your foot down the second time and resume. But if you put your foot down the third time then, according to the NHTSA standards, you’re considered not passing the test.