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tony draper
8th Mar 2008, 20:23
Caught the back end of one of those endless cop chase progs a few minutes ago, the clips show police officers pulling drunk drivers, why do the Police in America still use the rather silly old fashioned walk the line, stand on one foot count to twenty backwards tests? the clips I just watched the perps(USA Police slang for scallywags) are so obviously pissed out of their minds they cannot stand, yet the policeman is struggling try to get them to do these silly roadside sobriety tests, why don't they just breathalyse the feckers?
:confused:

kwachon
8th Mar 2008, 20:30
They have to have been shown to be completely fair and give the "perp" every opportunity to show they are sober. Breath test machines at the roadside are considered unreliable, mouthwash will give a fail and in the past has resulted in lawsuits against the cops.
So, do all the old fashioned tests and get it on camera, never fails and is bloody funny to watch.

Dushan
8th Mar 2008, 20:32
Most likely, because in order to use the breathalyze, the machine must be properly calibrated, the cop must be trained and re-certified etc. for the results to stand in court. Since most jurisdictions in US now have cameras in the cars, doing the "walk the line" test is pretty simple and the camera records it.

muppetofthenorth
8th Mar 2008, 20:36
There is, I believe, a constitutional problem in that some believe issuing a breathalyzer test without having first obtained a search warrant constitutes an illegal search, something the 4th [?] amendment covers.

con-pilot
8th Mar 2008, 20:56
This the type of thing you're talking about Mr. D?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KsPRVEHDT2s


:ok:

sprocket
8th Mar 2008, 21:07
TD, the American test is designed to catch drunk actors and performers.

As soon as they see the camera, well you know the rest. :E

G-CPTN
8th Mar 2008, 21:08
That's the one!

pigboat
8th Mar 2008, 22:17
That's from Reno 911 I think.

rotornut
8th Mar 2008, 22:26
In Canada the cops cannot require a motorist to perform a sobriety test. However, if the driver voluntarily does the test, it is admissable as evidence. They can't randomly stop a car unless it has committed an infraction. However, they can stop cars at spot checks if they are authorised by provincial legislation.

If a cop stops a car and has reason to believe the driver has alcohol in his body he can demand the driver provide a breath sample into an "approved screening device". If the person fails the test the police officer has the grounds to make an arrest and must take the person for two breath tests within 3 hours. The Borkenstein Breathalyzer has been largely replaced by the Intoxilyzer, a high tech device. If the driver cannot physically provide a breath sample, they can demand a blood sample.
The police can also arrest a driver on the spot without using the screening device if there are reasonable grounds to believe the driver is impaired.

flower
8th Mar 2008, 22:26
Road wars in the UK usually ends the show with a "funny" of a drunk, loved the one of a guy riding a motor mower so out of his tree he fell asleep and fell off whilst driving down a lane.

The road side breath tests have to be backed up in the UK by two breath samples on a calibrated machine at the police station or a blood sample. Nope never been done just watched too many of these cop shows :}

con-pilot
8th Mar 2008, 22:42
That's from Reno 911 I think.

Yup, you got it! ;):ok:

rab-k
8th Mar 2008, 22:54
We used to do them 'cause the nearest breathaliser was 80 miles away in the Sheriff's Dept.

Just the usual; Recite the alphabet backwards, (If they even started it you knew they were pissed:}), walk the line, close eyes arms extended (both sides) then touch tip of nose with index finger, stand to attention close eyes and tilt head backwards (trying not to fall over backwards), etc...

Saved a wasted 160 mile round trip in a cruiser only to discover someone was legal!

Unlike plod over here, we didn't have breathalisers in the cars.

tinpis
8th Mar 2008, 22:57
The open container bust still hold good in the US?

tony draper
8th Mar 2008, 23:00
Yer but I bet our plod would prefer the 12 gauge pump yer did have in yer cars Mr Rab.
:E

con-pilot
8th Mar 2008, 23:27
The open container bust still hold good in the US?

It is up to the law of each State, I think, not sure though, that it is illegal in every state with the exception of Texas regarding beer. Now in some States if traveling in a large RV/Motor Home adult beverages can be consumed by the passengers, however, there can be no alcoholic beverage/s within reach of the driver or a certain distance from the driver's seat that would be outside of the reach of a driver.

rab-k
8th Mar 2008, 23:32
True Drapes, true. We only had single slug ammo, but I was assured they came in very handy for bringing your average engine block to a rather sudden, and highly terminal end.

niknak
9th Mar 2008, 00:29
Slightly away from the thread, but in the USA, what's the difference between a police officer and a sheriff, his deputy etc?

No, it's not a request for the punchline, but a genuine enquiry.

Two's in
9th Mar 2008, 01:16
A city and some township's may have a Police Department, LAPD, NYPD being the larger examples, but any incorporated city/town with the budget can have a PD. You will be pulled over by a Police Officer.

Sherrif's jurisdiction is a County, and executed by Sherrif's Deputies. The Sherrif is an elected public official, you will be pulled over by his Deputy.

The State will have State Troopers who have Statewide jurisdiction, most people's experience is being pulled by the Highway Patrol.

The Federal Gov't have the FBI, Federal Marshall and a bunch of other agencies, but I will bow to Con's knowledge and experience here before waxing lyrical.

There are actually a lot of Americans who don't know the differences, but luckily the appropriate authorities always put useful clues on the doors of the arresting officer's vehicle...

flower
9th Mar 2008, 10:02
After posting last night i watched another episode of Road Wars which happened to show 2 police chases through Airfields/Airports. One at Elstree a Porsche that had been stolen weaved around taxiing aircraft and drove down the runway but the one in the states they also had the tape from ATC playing. The comments between ATC and the flight decks was excellent, comments along the line of "how did he get past TSA" and "I bet he didn't have to take his shoes off" were classics :ok:

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaargh!
9th Mar 2008, 15:29
Recite the alphabet backwards Ooo-er. So your department wasn't overy supersticious then? :ooh:




They also have Constables here. It's an elected office, not sure if it's city or county related, but I think it's county. They do process serving, pick up people on warrants and transport prisoners - with the occasional stop in a quiet stone quarry for a little discussion of events in the prisoner's recent history.

Binoculars
9th Mar 2008, 15:54
.......to do these silly roadside sobriety tests, why don't they just breathalyse the feckers?

If only they would do these silly roadside tests the whole system would be a lot fairer. Arbitrary limits on anything are questionable, and the ability to control a car safely is a classic example. I shouldn't have to elaborate as the argument is obvious, but to give those who like to be outraged something to grab on to, I'll state that in any given driving test between me at .12 and my wife at .04 I would win hands down. Three shandies and she's gone, but if I had the equivalent of four pints of mid-strength beer I had to let her drive me home.

I could extend the test to compare an 18 year old girl at .02 BAC, but I'm sure you get the message. The old walk the line or stand on one leg and touch your nose with one eye closed or whatever tests are simply far more reliable than a breathalyser if you are interested in finding out whether a person's capacity to drive safely is significantly impaired.

If of course you are only interested in revenue-raising and populism, that doesn't apply.

pineridge
9th Mar 2008, 15:55
Muppet of the North says "There is, I believe, a constitutional problem in that some believe issuing a breathalyzer test without having first obtained a search warrant constitutes an illegal search, something the 4th [?] amendment covers"


The adoption of the breathalyser enabled the police forces of many jurisdictions to obtain evidence for a conviction relating to drink/driving offences without having to go through the boring procedures of actually proving impairment. The old offence of driving whilst one`s ability to do so is impaired by drink or drugs was much too difficult to get by juries.
Now, the onus is on the accused to provide the authorities with evidence of innocence.
In some jurisdictions, the police do not have to have grounds to believe the driver has ingested alcohol, and it is a statutory offence to refuse to provide a breath sample i.e. evidence of one`s innocence or otherwise.
The concept of "innocent until proven guilty" has been eroded simply for the cause of expediency.
Everyone will accept that driving while impaired for any reason is a very serious problem. To address the problem by compromising a basic premise of common law is, to my mind, a dangerous road to travel.

rab-k
9th Mar 2008, 17:08
WARNING!

Don't watch this without first taking a leak, else you might just P1$$ your pants laughing...

I was puzzled by Aaaaaaaaaaargh's earlier reference to "superstition" re. reciting the alphabet backwards, so I did a Google on the subject, and found this (http://www.truveo.com/funny-dui-stop-recite-alphabet-backwards/id/2559216289)...

..........................................................

Sorry C-P, 'tis indeed :O

con-pilot
9th Mar 2008, 18:30
That is the same video I post here earlier on. :p

tony draper
9th Mar 2008, 18:58
Hmmm if reports of our education system are to be believed there might soon be lots of folks wandering about who would be unable to recite the alphabet forwards when stone cold sober.
Another thought occurs,what if a policeman pulls someone up who has no English,(does not speak American):uhoh:

MSP Aviation
9th Mar 2008, 20:35
The adoption of the breathalyser enabled the police forces of many jurisdictions to obtain evidence for a conviction relating to drink/driving offences without having to go through the boring procedures of actually proving impairment. The old offence of driving whilst one`s ability to do so is impaired by drink or drugs was much too difficult to get by juries.
Now, the onus is on the accused to provide the authorities with evidence of innocence.
In some jurisdictions, the police do not have to have grounds to believe the driver has ingested alcohol, and it is a statutory offence to refuse to provide a breath sample i.e. evidence of one`s innocence or otherwise.
The concept of "innocent until proven guilty" has been eroded simply for the cause of expediency.
Everyone will accept that driving while impaired for any reason is a very serious problem. To address the problem by compromising a basic premise of common law is, to my mind, a dangerous road to travel.

'Cept for the fact that driving is a privilege and when you exercise such on the public highways you sacrifice your right to not be breathalyzed. Same with searches at airports or in the subways.

galaxy flyer
9th Mar 2008, 21:19
MSP Aviation:

One might question why driving is considered a "privilege". After all, no one would debate that there is a natural right to travel. I am sure if abortion is "right" then traveling is a right. Internal passports or universal IDs might make us safer, but are strongly objected to. We didn't license and sobriety check horse riders. The difference is the technology, not the ultimate right. See US Constitution Amendments 9 & 10.

Just stirring the pot.

rotornut
10th Mar 2008, 00:11
Now, the onus is on the accused to provide the authorities with evidence of innocence
In what jurisdiction? In most common law countries the prosecution has to prove every element of the offence. If you ever attended a trial involving a breath test you'll know what I mean, at least in this country. The arresting cop has have done everything correctly. The breath technician has to have completed the testing procedure absolutely perfectly from beginning to end or the accused walks.

On a lighter note, the cops made a breathalyzer demand on a Newfie(Newfoundlander for you non-Canadians). The guy was very nervous and he sucked instead of blowing which totally bu**ered the machine (the Borkenstein uses a chemical solution which changes opacity when the breath sample passes through it). In any case, they couldn't use the machine and the Newfie was released without charges.

pineridge
10th Mar 2008, 18:40
To Rotornut:
"In what jurisdiction? In most common law countries the prosecution has to prove every element of the offence. "

In that bastion of Social Democracy called Norway it is an offence to refuse a breath test and the police do not require "reasonable grounds"
to breathalyse a driver. Therefore, in my view, a driver is required to prove innocence. However, I`m from Calgary, so my views are probably too libertarian for 21st Century sensibilities.

rotornut
10th Mar 2008, 18:59
Thanks, pineridge. It's an offence in Canada to refuse a breath test as well.
However, are you sure the police in Norway can make you blow completely arbitrarily? As I mentioned in an earlier post, if a police officer suspects that a person has alcohol in his body while driving he can make a demand for a roadside test into an "approved screening device" which only registers "pass", "fail" or "caution". If the person registers a "fail" then the officer has reasonable and probable grounds to make an arrest. So I wonder if there isn't at least some basic requirement before the police can make a breath demand in Norway? I say this because I understand there are serious criminal consequences for "blowing over" in Norway and the othe Scandinavian countries.

bjcc
10th Mar 2008, 20:20
Tony Draper

I don't know, because I've never looked at US legislation, but the reason could be that there are, as in the UK, 2 different offences.

The first being driving while having a blood alcohol concerntration above a prescribed limit. That being detected by breath test. The limit is arbitary, and does not relate to being drunk, just having more than a stated amount of alcohol in your body.

The second offence relates to being unfit to drive and there is no need to administer a breath test to prove the offence. In any case, you could, in theory at least, be below then prescirbed limit, but still unfit, therefore a breath test proves, or disproves nothing. (Driving while unfit also applies to drugs for which there is no usable breath test anyway. therefore you will see UK Police doing the same sort of tests the US Police conduct)

In the UK, at least in my force we would go for the breath test as a matter of course, unless the driver wasn't capable of standing when he got out of the car.

As i say thats the situation here, and why you may see the same tests done here. The US may be different, and the way of detecting drink/drive offences may also be different from here.

gingernut
10th Mar 2008, 20:27
I used to teach neurological examination - apparently the romberg test (standing upright with eyes closed for 20-30s and not swaying), ang heel to toe walking, are almost impossible when under the influence.

Funny how all the ugly women go home at about 10 o'clock as well.

MadsDad
11th Mar 2008, 00:31
Driving while unfit also applies to drugs for which there is no usable breath test anyway

Was watching one of the 'Car Cops' type programs earlier and one incident recorded was some bloke had a single vehicle accident and was found unconscious in his car. After a short while he regained consciousness and the ambulancemen at the scene decided he had no significant injury. He got taken down the nick and tested positive for alcohol but not enough to render him unconscious. The police suspected drugs but didn't get him tested because he would be banned anyway.

(There was another bloke arrested in his car who was so drunk he had to have a copper stood behind him to hold him up at the counter. When he took the test on the evidence machine he only managed to give one sample in the required time (2 needed in 3 minutes) so got away with a 60 fine and 12 month ban for failing to provide a sample. The one sample he gave was seven times over the limit.)

rotornut
11th Mar 2008, 12:51
A Mountie told me they had a guy who blew .60 - close to alcohol poisoning and death! The limit in Canada is .08.

Wader2
11th Mar 2008, 13:24
in a large RV/Motor Home adult beverages can be consumed by the passengers, however, there can be no alcoholic beverage/s within reach of the driver or a certain distance from the driver's seat that would be outside of the reach of a driver.

Mmm

It was a small 4x4. As she exited the car park, driving through the ditch as that was the shortest way, she grabbed the bottle of champagne and took a swig as she approached the police control post . . .

Later, also in OK City, we met up with this guy who had been so out of this world at 5 that we never expected to see him at the Chinese 30 miles away and 2 hours later.

Being a 'dry state' I guess they didn't have 'drunks' in OK:}

Binoculars
11th Mar 2008, 14:04
I'm a little puzzled that nobody from either side of the argument has addressed what I consider the central problem; the difference between being unable to control a vehicle safely and being over an arbitrary limit.

I would expect bjcc as a police officer to say, quite reasonably, that his job is to apply the law as it is writ.

I would expect those who drink somewhat more than average, especially those who, like myself have attained a venerable age :uhoh: and driven many miles to say that they are safer after a few beers than a young whippersnapper who knows everything except his own limitations.

I would expect all those viewpoints to be accepted as having some validity. Do they matter in the end, or are we going to continue punishing people who aren't really a danger to anybody because we can't think of any way to differentiate except an arbitrary limit?

Is the originally stated method of displaying fine and gross motor response (walking heel to toe, walking along a straight line, touching the nose etc) not a fairer method of assessment?

Yes, this is a self-serving argument. It pisses me off that I have to organise a taxi for a 2 kilometre trip with my level of driving history. But it remains a valid societal argument which of course will never be addressed because revenue is involved.

I still want to hear what others think of it.

rotornut
11th Mar 2008, 15:51
B
This issue has been debated in and out of the courts in Canada and, I suspect the U.K. - our legislation was originally modelled on the relevant provisions of the Road Traffic Act.

I totally agree with you. However, Parliament decided that .08 represents a level of impairment in the average person and that's the law. Here and probably in other common law jurisdictions the courts strictly interpret the law and will acquit for relatively minor technical errors on the part of the police. It's a way of balancing the somewhat arbitrariness of the law.

Lasiorhinus
11th Mar 2008, 15:54
Well, Binos, it just so happens that it is an offence in Queensland to drive a car with a blood alcohol reading of greater than 0.05. This may or may not equate to you being drunk, but that is immaterial, because the law stipulates a maximum BAC. If you are stopped by the police, either through a random breath test, or for any other reason, police procedure requires you to give a breath sample.

If you haven't been drinking, this sample will effectively prove your innocence, but a positive reading will also be rather inconvenient for the rest of your day.


Interesting to note, that although CAR 256 makes it an offence to operate an aircraft while intoxicated, it makes no attempt to define what constitutes intoxication. This is a fundamental difference from road law.

Binoculars
11th Mar 2008, 16:02
Hmm. Our next contestant is Lasiorhinus. Special subject, The Bleeding Obvious.

Thank you for your input, Mr L, though I don't see what it adds to the argument. I'll put it slightly differently for your benefit.

1. I know what the law says.
2. I know that if you are above the prescribed BAC you are in breach of said law.
3. Some really strange people have this weird idea that the law may have a basic flaw. One of those people (to wit, your humble interlocutor) has asked the views of other intelligent people with regard to possible alternative interpretations of said law.

It's like, you know, he goes and she goes, and I'm like, and she's like... whatever.

frostbite
11th Mar 2008, 16:53
It's simply another example of machinery deciding guilt or innocence.

Be it breathalyser, cctv, whatever, it's easier to administer without regard to any circumstances.

You want justice?

tony draper
11th Mar 2008, 17:09
Doesn't one of the Scandinavia Countries have a zero level, ie no alcohol at all if driving? bit like air crew 24 hours from bottle to throttle, that might avoid confusion,how many have been nicked because they think they are safe after just a couple of pints and fail the test.
:confused:

gingernut
11th Mar 2008, 17:31
Not sure if a zero level would work. (is it actaully zero?)

Not being pedantic, but doesn't the body produce a bit of alcohol itself. And what about the small amounts found in sherry trifles, asthma inhalers etc, would that show up?

And how long would I have to wait before a skinful the night before, and being able to drive the next day to be sure of absolute zero.

I'm not condoning drink driver, never felt the need to have to do it, but would a zero level be fair, and would it do what its supposed to do?

Binoculars
11th Mar 2008, 17:37
The ONLY person guaranteed to pass a zero BAC test is a teetotaller.

whiz
11th Mar 2008, 18:03
I'm a little puzzled that nobody from either side of the argument has addressed what I consider the central problem; the difference between being unable to control a vehicle safely and being over an arbitrary limit.

I would expect bjcc as a police officer to say, quite reasonably, that his job is to apply the law as it is writ.

I would expect those who drink somewhat more than average, especially those who, like myself have attained a venerable age :uhoh: and driven many miles to say that they are safer after a few beers than a young whippersnapper who knows everything except his own limitations.

I would expect all those viewpoints to be accepted as having some validity. Do they matter in the end, or are we going to continue punishing people who aren't really a danger to anybody because we can't think of any way to differentiate except an arbitrary limit?

Is the originally stated method of displaying fine and gross motor response (walking heel to toe, walking along a straight line, touching the nose etc) not a fairer method of assessment?

Yes, this is a self-serving argument. It pisses me off that I have to organise a taxi for a 2 kilometre trip with my level of driving history. But it remains a valid societal argument which of course will never be addressed because revenue is involved.

I still want to hear what others think of it.

Binos,
first of all let me say that I see your point and being one that has enjoyed a beer for many a year I think it has some merit. The problem being is that I may have 2 pints (probably enough to put you over the limit in the UK) and get stopped by Mr Plod. We then do a touchy nose, walk the line, alphabet test and I pass. I carry on my merry way (pun intended) Next week I have the same 2 pints after the same round of golf and I get stopped, but this time Mr Plod deems me to be driving under the influence. Do I have a right to refer back to the previous week as some kind of precedent? It makes for a nightmare for the enforcement peeps. Secondly, having passed a test with 2 pints inside you would you not then be tempted to try 3 pints, 4 pints and so on, we all know how invincible we become after a few beers. As much as I take your point on an arbitrary limit being rediculous I think its the the only way the authorities can make it enforcable.
Cheers !

bjcc
11th Mar 2008, 22:13
Binoculars

It's an arugment that may have some validity.

An example being I, and I am sure may other police officers have arrested, and seen convicted, drivers who have been breath tested after an accident, who were in no way to blame for that accident, and who were driving perfectly well at the time it happened.

I do have a certain amount of sympathy people in those circumstances.

On the other hand, there have been documentries on TV over here, where a driver, in a simulator has drunk under the UK prescibed limit, and through a series of excerises been shown to be impaired, even though they are, as you put it of a venerable age.

It's an argument that you can run both ways and have validity either way.

I have my own opinions on the subject, but my powers of discretion on the subject were limitied, especially when an accident was involved.

Droopy
11th Mar 2008, 22:34
There's a much easier test.....http://www.boreme.com/boreme/funny-2006/sobriety-test-p1.php

pineridge
12th Mar 2008, 18:49
Tony Draper asks :

"Doesn't one of the Scandinavia Countries have a zero level, ie no alcohol at all if driving?"

I believe the Scandinavian limit is .02, but occasionally you read that some poor citizen has managed to get the breathaliser to react after taking a couple of teaspoons of cough medicine or has been guilty of operating the windshield washer and inadvertently (I guess) inhaling the fumes.
As a rule of thumb, to ensure that you don`t blow over the limit, you should abstain from alcoholic beverages twelve hours prior to driving, or twenty-four hours if you have really "tied one on", as they say.
However, you should be safe enough if you restrict your intake to 5cc of heroin or no more than three lines of cocain.

takenthe5thamendment
15th Apr 2008, 00:40
bjcc
The second offence relates to being unfit to drive and there is no need to administer a breath test to prove the offence. In any case, you could, in theory at least, be below then prescirbed limit, but still unfit, therefore a breath test proves, or disproves nothing. (Driving while unfit also applies to drugs for which there is no usable breath test anyway. therefore you will see UK Police doing the same sort of tests the US Police conduct)

In the UK, at least in my force we would go for the breath test as a matter of course, unless the driver wasn't capable of standing when he got out of the car.

Hello Everyone, long time no see :)

Speaking as the Lead Forensic Nurse for the County (Yep, the job has changed) -

I have to disagree bjcc
There is definitely a need to administer a breath test even if the driver can't stand up or there is suspicion that someone is unfit to drive through drugs, if that is negative then the Impairment Test is undertaken under direction of the Field Trained Officer.

If the driver fails that, he is taken Custody, put on the Intoxylizer and results of the Evidential Breath Specimen are awaited - if reading is between 0 and 39, the Impairment Test is repeated by the Forensic Medical Examiner, as per the MGDD A and B (Station Procedure forms).

''It is for a doctor (Forensic Physician) to decide if the detainee is suffering from a condition that may be due to some drug''
as per Home Office regulations.

Once the doctor has made the decision that there are no physical reasons why the detainee has failed the Impairment Test he informs the Officer and the Officer then, as per the MGDD Form asks the doctor to take the blood sample... it's rare they ask for a urine sample in my experience.



Gingernut - I couldn't pass the test and I rarely drink, I think it's extremely difficult! :O

teeteringhead
15th Apr 2008, 11:20
A number of posters have made comparison with flying (bottle to throttle) alcohol regulations but these have an extra factor.

The last place alcohol leaves the body for some reason is apparently the fluid in the semicircular canals in the ears - ie the balance organs - and can remain there after alcohol is no longer detectable in the bloodstream.

Alcohol changes the density of the fluid, so b%ggers up the calibration of the organs. Hence "pit spin" when you go to bed, and a greater respect needed for alcohol when you've got a third dimension to "drive" in .......

..... sorry for dragging aviation into JB ......

Gainesy
15th Apr 2008, 15:16
Something on these US cop chase shows that has amused/irked my interest is the cops often refer to a chase reverting to "surface streets". What exactly does this mean?:confused: Non motorway/freeway/autobahn?

Ozzy
15th Apr 2008, 15:25
Something on these US cop chase shows that has amused/irked my interest is the cops often refer to a chase reverting to "surface streets". What exactly does this mean? Non motorway/freeway/autobahn?

You got it Gainsey

Surface Street - a surface street is any street in an urban area that is not a freeway. This term is frequently used in traffic reports when there are traffic delays on the freeway system. Surface streets may be called street, avenue, boulevard, road, place, and other names.

Ozzy

Gainesy
15th Apr 2008, 15:32
Thanks Ozzy:ok:
You should see some of the traffic laws we have, I believe you can still be nicked for "Riding Furiously" either on a hoss or a bicycle.:)

PS sorry, just noticed the "but a Brit".