It sounds like a bad joke, doesn't it?
If you aren't physically impaired in any way, then you probably haven't given that possibility a second thought.
Some people are in fact physically incapable of passing sobriety tests while sober.
Why Does It Matter?
It is in fact possible to fail the test while being completely free of alcohol.
According to Alcohol Problems and Solutions, failing a sobriety test means "you will be arrested for DWI or DUI. The arrest usually occurs before you can clear yourself with a breathalyzer test. Even when you're cleared, you still have an arrest record for the rest of your life because of a failed sobriety test."
Could You Even Pass a Field Sobriety Test while Sober?
Maybe, you could.
But think about the people you know; do you know anyone with a "hidden illness, or someone with impaired mobility or an unresolved injury? They may be legally able and physically capable of driving, but they still might fail the test if requested to perform it.
The tests are not like what is shown on TV, they're overexaggerated examples of the actual tests. The most common tests you could be asked to perform are the walk and turn, the one legged-stand, and the horizontal gaze nystagmus.
While the walk and turn is relatively easy, the one-legged stand is impossible for anyone with a disability or medical condition that affects or limits their ability to weight bear on one limb only.
The horizontal gaze nystagmus, which is fancy expression meaning the involuntary jerking of the eye, is a condition that can be congential, meaning, it is a condition that some people are born with.
According to Healthline, nystagmus can be caused by a host of conditions such as stroke, medications, head injury or trauma, disease of the eye, diseases of the inner ear, B-12 or thiamine deficiencies, and finally, excessive alcohol consumption.
Is This Fair?
It is phenomenally unfair that some people end up having to defend themselves because a condition they have naturally meets the definition of being a drunk driver.
What Is The Solution?
Honestly, there is little you can do other than being aware of the situation and most importantly knowing your rights, especially if you are one of the many people suffering from a condition that may make you appear to be intoxicated.
Interestingly, the problem of drunk driving is being taken in a new direction, with the idea of installing devices in new cars to prevent drunk drivers from even starting the engine.
If that is the way of the future, let's hope that means field sobriety tests become a thing of the past. The greatest thing about this plan is that it is free of discrimination against less able-bodied people.
People with disabilities, illnesses, injuries, are all capable of driving. But it is not fair if their condition leads them to be in a position of disadvantage.
A test at the ignition is not likely to result in a person with certain conditions or disabilities being arrested, and what a great step forward that will be.