Field sobriety testing has often come under fire for its variability in results, its error of margin, and its subjectivity. Yet, it still exists because it is one of the only options we currently have for determining impairment in a driver.
Standing on the side of the road, options for examining impairment are obviously limited. In order to improve the accuracy of field sobriety testing, however, the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) has standardized three tests for increased accuracy.
The finger count field sobriety test is not one of those standardized tests. But, in many states, it is still practiced by some officers who favor the test as a way to validate a DUI suspicion.
The subject will be asked to stand with the feet slightly apart, for the test. One arm should be extended forward, with the palm facing up. With the thumb of the other hand, the driver is supposed to touch the tip of each of the fingers of the extended hand while counting the fingers out loud.
The officer may tweak these instructions, asking for a specific number of sets, alternating hands, or other variations. But if the subject does not comply with complete accuracy, he or she may end up in jail for the night, facing penalties associated with DUI driving.