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FSA Training

FSA provides training in scientific concepts and findings related to judging intoxication from alcohol, focusing on basic concepts and application to DWI work. It assumes knowledge of the NHTSA Standardized Field Sobriety Tests (SFSTs), but does not require completion of the NHTSA course(s). The FSA lessons refer to SFST studies and students should be familiar with the ones most often cited in court cases (the 1981 laboratory study, the NHTSA field studies) and the NHTSA student manual.

FSA training can now be accomplished online. In the past, the individual courses cost from $250-$450, plus the cost of travel to Houston. Students can learn and test at their own pace - one module a week or complete them all in a three-day weekend. All modules are written to be taken by someone with no background in the topic other than familiarity with the NHTSA SFSTs. Later modules draw on material learned in earlier modules, so it is best to take them in order. You may repeat the lessons or tests up to five times. Questions can be emailed to FSA and will receive a personal response from Dr. Rubenzer. The cost for all eight modules, with testing, is $275.00 for attorneys and experts, $125.00 for public servants.

Some of the lessons are written specifically for DUI attorneys, while three of them are peer-reviewed articles that any dedicated DUI attorney will want to read. The lessons will likely differ in the level of challenge they present you. The first one will probably be easiest for many students. Module V, which deals with accuracy rates, will require concentrated study for most students. It is also potentially the most valuable. Try to avoid any temptation to skip the problems - doing them is the best way to learn. If you run into difficulty, email me (SR) and you will get a personal response, usually within 24 hours. Lessons 6-8 will incorporate material presented in earlier lessons, so if you take a break between the early lessons and the later ones, you might want to review. The summary points make this easy to do. Just remember that some lessons have two summary sections.

After each lesson, there is an approximately 30-item test, mostly true-false with some multiple choice. Although you don't have to take the test right away, I suggest you do. Memory fades very rapidly, particularly for details that didn't especially catch your attention. Passing rate for all tests is 70% if you are just taking the course, 80% if you want to be FSA Certified. You will be notified immediately after tasking the test of your results and given a chance to review the questions and answers. If you do not pass the first time, you can test again up to five times. To enroll in the FSA training program, register here.

Description of FSA Training Modules

Module Title Comments/Description Est. Time Required
I Understanding Science Introduces basic concepts of science such as hypothesis testing, use of samples, and the peer-review process. 45-90 minutes
II Correlation Introduces the use of correlation coefficients and multiple regression as applied in SFST research. 45-90 minutes
III Reliability and Validity Explains the often misunderstood concepts of scientific reliability and validity and how an accurate understanding is crucial to full comprehension of the SFST literature. 45-90 minutes
IV Statistical Significance and Effect Size OPTIONAL - This module covers two important tools for analyzing the results of a study: Are the results simply coinicidence? If not, is the effect big enough to be useful? 45-90 minutes
V Accuracy Rates & Diagnostic Statistics Overall accuracy rates tell you almost nothing about the value of a test. This module explains why, and introduces several other diagnostic statistics used throughout medicine and scientific fields involving tests. 90-150 minutes
VI SFST Research This peer-reviewed article examines the entire scientific literature on the SFSTs through 2007. 90-150 minutes
VII Research on Signs of Intoxication This module covers what is known about signs of intoxication and sobriety tests other than the NHTSA SFSTs. 60-150 minutes
VIII Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus This module reviews the vision science literature relevant to HGN and provides videos and instructional pages to help recognize and understand various eye movements. 90-150 minutes

Enroll in the on-line FSA training program