The Pen Test: How it Can Go Wrong Even if the Officer Does it Right

Good morning,
The first in the series of "field sobriety tests" so-called, that a driver typically endures at the roadside is the horizontal gaze nystagmus test. This is commonly called the "HGN" or the "gaze" test. This is done by the officer holding a pen or his finger about a foot from the driver's face, then waving it slowly from side to side several times. It is designed to check for a "jerking of the pupils" during the pen wavings. The officer typically tells the driver to stand with her feet together and her arms by her side, and to follow his pen with her eyes only (in other words not to move her head). The police are trained to call their pen a "stimulus" in order to make the exercise sound more scientifically reliable than it is. Most drivers think they have "passed" this "test" because they complied with the officer's instructions to hold their head still. Quite to the contrary, any minor jerking of the pupils, which can be caused by hundreds of reasons other than alcohol ingestion, will cause the driver to "fail" this test. One thing to watch out for just before this "test" starts is a request by the police to "check your eyes". This sounds pretty innocuous, but it is really just a way to get you to comply with the "testing" that you cannot be forced to do. YOU CANNOT BE FORCED TO SUBMIT TO THE PEN TEST OR ANY OTHER "FIELD SOBRIETY TESTS" AT THE ROADSIDE!!!!


For an interesting article on wrongful diagnoses regarding "horizontal gaze nystagmus" click below:


Have a safe day,


1 comment:

  1. The question should be "How do you sleep at night?"