Bloodshot Eyes And Dui: Nhtsa Recognizes The 2 Have No Relationship To One Another
DO NOT EVER BE CONCERNED ABOUT AN OFFICER’S TESTIMONY THAT A PERSON HAS BLOODSHOT OR WATERY EYES IN A DUI CASE.
Most of us know from common experience that bloodshot and watery eyes can be caused by a number of different things. Allergies, smoking, fatigue, etc. are all things that can cause someone to have bloodshot and watery eyes. During a DUI trial, however, we frequently hear officers testify that bloodshot and watery eyes are indications of possible impairment. It is complete nonsense. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has recognized how silly this purported correlation is:
Finally, some cues were eliminated because they might be indicators more of social class than of alcohol impairment. For example, officers informed us that a flushed or red face might be an indication of a high BAC in some people. However, the cue also is characteristic of agricultural, oil field, and other outside work. Similarly, bloodshot eyes, while associated with alcohol consumption, also is a trait of many shift workers and people who must work more than one job, as well as those afflicted by allergies. A disheveled appearance similarly is open to subjective interpretation. We attempted to limit the recommendation to clear and objective post-stop behaviors.
Jack Stuster, U.S. Department of Transportation, NHTSA Final Report, The Detection of DWI at BACs Below 0.10, DOT HS-808-654 (Sept. 1997)
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