By: William C. Head, Criminal Defense Attorney Atlanta GA and ABA Board-Certified DUI Attorney
The problem with the CLAIMS of the NHTSA agency (“NHTSA” is an abbreviation for National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, a branch of the United States Department of Transportation) is that NO SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH in existence in the world supports the so-called, self-named modified Romberg balance test [as described being done, according to the ARIDE program and the Drug Evaluation and Classification (DEC) Program.] Romberg’s test was for syphilis patients, not drinking drivers.
Police officers with DEC training want to call it the DRE (“drug recognition EXPERT”) program. If they are experts at RELIABLY identifying drug-impaired citizens in a motor vehicle, then they need to have a medical license or at least a Ph.D. in “clinical pharmacology,” “clinical psychology”, “educational psychology,” “testing and measurement,” “human factors,” or “human physiology” to be guessing at medical and anatomical issues.
These screening officers are COPS, not physicians, and feigning superior knowledge of psycho-physical tests, to gain convictions, is committing fraud upon the American driving public.
Neither the DEC training nor the ARIDE training are RELIABLE, for identifying the claimed “symptoms” beyond mere guesswork that is usually preceded by the arresting officer either getting the driver’s admission of DRUG USE, and/or the officer SMELLING the drug (e.g., the odor of burnt marijuana) in the car. This is like shooting fish in a barrel — there is no SKILL required, when the fish come up to the surface and wait for the bullet!
In the ARIDE manual, on page 51 of the 101-page manual (NHTSA 11/07, Session V – Page 7 of 11), this is the impressive sounding, bold (but untrue) claim of what the ARIDE participant will be able to do upon completion of the two-day training: “The Romberg Balance Test, which is used as part of the Drug Evaluation and Classification Program as well as this course, is adopted from its original use as a neurological assessment tool in order to check a suspect’s internal clock, balance, and presence of tremors (eyelids and body).” No such use was ever sanctioned or reported by Dr. Romberg. This was fabricated out of whole cloth, as the expression goes.
The officers who are “certified” to conduct the DRT 12-step testing are called “practitioners” by their Manual. Use of the bogus moniker of “practitioner” is just one more aspect of the fraud perpetrated upon the American driving public, by an agency of our Federal Government. The deception is all part of calling these evaluations something that they are not – MEDICAL screening tests. The level of unreliability is not much better than the dismally poor NHTSA standardized tests, when an officer does not get to ask the person which drugs he or she was taking.
To be RELIABLE, a correlation between the “symptoms” being investigated and a so-called modified Romberg balance test must be established. This is NOT done by utilizing “results” from police officers who at a pre-arrest questioning of the suspected driver, obtain physical proof of drug use (e.g., the smell of burnt weed), or observing prescription pill bottles or a blunt in plain view, or simply asking the person about his or her drug use that day, and getting an affirmative answer. THAT is not proof by use of “the scientific method.”
Scientific double-blind research eliminates such biased data as the evaluator being able to obtain an admission from the driver. To prove scientific reliability, the results of a legitimate controlled study must (with hundreds of study participants) be able to reliably predict BOTH (a) which test subjects are impaired by drugs or alcohol, and (b) which test subjects are not impaired by the “target” impairing substance. Scientific reliability then mandates that such testing achieve 90% reliability.
The scientific method used in investigating “reliability” calls for REPEATABILITY being proven. In the original 1977 and 1981 NHTSA controlled studies, Dr. Marcelline Burns and company DID gather data on “repeatability,” both for the SAME officer checking the same test subject 2 weeks after the original testing, and with the same subject dosed at the same BAC level) to see how these reliability numbers looked. When looking at the raw data, NONE the three approved NHTSA standardized tests approached 90% reliability.
Importantly, Dr. Burns and her team also collected data of “interrater” reliability, meaning that a different officer checks the same test subject as the initial officer, using the same methodology, on the same day, to see if separate “raters” come to the same conclusion about “impairment.” This step is ONE of the many steps that scientific researchers MUST use to be able to claim statistical reliability.
A double-blind, controlled study would eliminate officers being allowed to get the test subjects to self-incriminate BEFORE “guessing” if the person was impaired by drugs or alcohol. Until that can be proven with a statistically significant group of test subjects, these evaluations are bogus, fraudulent, and are a violation of constitutional protections for citizens in the United States. Innocent people are being arrested and CONVICTED of driving under the influence.
If you need the best Atlanta DUI Marijuana lawyer, call Bubba Head or his two law partners (Larry Kohn and Cory Yager) today at (404) 567-5515 and let one of them tell you about the many drunk driving and drugged driving cases they have won. Among DUI law firms in Georgia, Mr. Head and his partners have more cumulative AVVO 5-star results than any other firm.
Our DUI law office is very thorough in going over the police evidence in your case, from your breathalyzer and blood test results, Romberg test results, and your field sobriety test scores. In fact, Mr. Yager IS an ex-cop, with over 1,000 DUI arrests to his credit. If you are charged with DUI less safe under 40 6 391, being over the legal alcohol limit in GA, DUI per se marijuana (zero tolerance), or facing a license suspension for a violation of the Georgia implied consent law for “refusal,” our DUI attorneys CAN help.
Our Atlanta DUI attorneys offer a FREE professional case evaluation to citizens charged with drunk driving or drugged driving. During this consultation, Mr. Head or one of his partners can go over your legal fee options, relate our past experience with successful DUI defenses in cases like yours, and answer any questions you may have about your Georgia DUI case, Georgia DUI law, successful DUI defenses, and possible payment plans in order to explain how our DUI law firm is different.
After being arrested for DUI in Georgia, the first thing to do it identify an expert on Georgia DUI law through top attorney ratings. Look at who is BEHIND the law firm, review each of the trial lawyers’ credentials, and check out the criminal defense attorney who leads the law office. Every experienced DUI lawyer in the law firm must have full command of DUI laws and possess training in all aspects of successfully challenging the driving under the influence criminal case.
This successful defense record must include suppressing breath alcohol tests, and knowing every prior appellate decision on the Georgia implied consent law. An increasing number of drugged driving cases require that our criminal defense lawyers know how to challenge a GBI blood alcohol or drugs test. Being an INSTRUCTOR in the three NHTSA standardized field sobriety tests (SFST) is also necessary.
The best DUI attorneys in Atlanta, Georgia will offer you a FREE consultation, explain how their criminal attorneys search for a successful defense in your case, and aggressively represent clients to the maximum extent the law allows. Limit your search to DUI lawyers who have legitimate lawyer ratings and a history of proven results on knowing how to beat a DUI. If we are the criminal defense attorneys for you, ask us about our attorney payment plans.
Call our DUI defense lawyers NOW, 24-7, for an initial case review and FREE legal advice: 404-567-5515, or email our criminal justice attorneys.
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