An experimental evaluation of field sobriety tests in the marine environment

An experimental evaluation of field sobriety tests in the marine environment

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    Final report; Draft
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    This Report describes an investigation of the accuracy of Field Sobriety Tests (FSTs) when used in the marine environment. FSPs are non-chemical tests of intoxication which are used in highway law enforcement. These tests rely on the observation and measurement of the effect of alcohol intoxication on behaviors such as coordination, visual tracking and balance. It has been suggested that such behaviors might be degraded by the stressors encountered in the marine environment thereby invalidating them for such use. The purpose of this study was to determine if there was any decrease in the accuracy of the tests when used on individuals in recreational boating conditions. In the study 97 volunteers (matched in age and sex to the population of individuals arrested by marine law enforcement agents) were dosed with alcohol in a setting closely approximating that encountered in recreational boating. The subjects were given four drinks over a three and one half hour exposure period. The dosages were calculated to cause the subject to reach Blood Alcohol Concentrations (BACs) of 0.12%, 0.08%, or 0%. During this exposure period the subjects spent approximately one and one half hours on the water at various speeds in an open high performance outboard type boat.
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