The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) created a list
of several visual cues for law enforcement to look out for when catching
drivers who are under the influence of alcohol or drugs. These cues help
police officers establish “reasonable suspicion” in order
to make a lawful traffic stop to determine whether or not the motorist
The following are the four main visual cues the police use to pull someone
over for suspected drunk driving:
Difficulties staying in a driving lane – Intoxicated drivers often experience issues maintaining proper
lane position. Common indicators of failure to say within a driving lane
include weaving across multiple lanes, swerving within one lane, drifting,
making an extremely wide turn, straddling a lane line, and nearly hitting
another vehicle or an object.
Acceleration and braking problems – Drunk drivers also experience difficulties with judging speed
and distance while operating a vehicle. Common indicators of acceleration
issues include failing to drive at a consistent speed, driving at least
ten miles higher or slower than the posted speed limit, as well as accelerating
and decelerating for no reason whatsoever. Common examples of braking
issues include stopping either too short or too far from the intersection,
making jerky stops, and stopping at odd angles.
Vigilance issues – Impaired drivers have a hard time being aware and noticing road
conditions such as traffic lights and the flow of traffic. Common examples
of vigilance problems include delayed responses to traffic signs, slowing
down or stopping for no valid reason, driving on the wrong side of the
road, and driving at night without the headlights on.
Judgment problems – When operating a motor vehicle, all drivers must constantly make
judgments while they’re on the road. While normal drivers follow
the rules, drunk drivers tend to take more dangerous risks. Common indicators
of judgment issues include making illegal turns and unsafe lane changes,
tailgating, and driving off-road.
If a police officer notices any one of these visual cues, he/she will make
a traffic stop. The most common signs of driver intoxication during a
police stop include the smell of alcohol coming from the driver or within
the vehicle, an open container of alcohol inside the vehicle, slurs his/her
words, slowly responds to questions, and poor motor skills.
If you have been arrested for a
DUI in Daytona Beach,
contact our experienced legal team at the
Law Offices of Robert Stepniak and schedule a free consultation.