There was a time when anyone could identify a drunk driver: He fell over when he got out of the car, reeked of alcohol, and if he could talk at all, his speech was incoherent or slurred. But with the legal blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit now at .08% or lower throughout the country, judging if someone is legally intoxicated has become far more difficult.
Forensic Sobriety Assessment trains and certifies professionals in DWI/DUI enforcement and defense. FSA certification requires working knowledge of the scientific principles and research relating to sobriety testing in a DWI / DUI stop, including:
- The scientific literature on indications of intoxication, such as red eyes and slurred speech
- NHTSA's Standardized Field Sobriety Tests (SFSTs)
- Scientific principles, such as experiment design, reliability and valdity, and diagnostic statistics (e.g., false positive rates)
- Visual science pertaining to the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN) sobriety test
- The scientific literature on sobriety tests other than the SFSTs
FSA Certification is the most advanced credential available to DUI professionals in behavioral sobriety assessment. Ideally, all attorneys, judges, and police officers who deal with DWI cases would be knowledgeable about these topics. While the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) trains police officers to assess intoxication, it does not provide training in important scientific topics or differential diagnosis, and does not address the many criticisms of the tests. FSA Certification is available to those who demonstrate proficiency by passing examinations in seven of the eight content areas (the module on statistical significance and effect size is currently optional).