The Walk-and-Turn Test
In combination with Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN) and the
One-Leg Stand (OLS) , the Walk-and-Turn (WAT) test is used to determine the level of impairment from a subject. This, along with the OLS, is considered to be a divided attention test. This is because a subject must listen to instructions while performing the movements at the same time. For someone who is impaired, dividing the attention between the two tasks can be near impossible. Research shows that 79% of subjects who take the WAT test who show two or more of the indications of a failed test will be over the legal limit.
Guidelines of the Test
To administer the test, the rules are simple. The subject must take nine steps with heel-to-toe on a straight line. After the last step, they must turn on one foot and return in the same manner to the point that the test began. There are eight indications that are considered to be red flags for impairment. These include the following:
- Inability to keep balance while listening;
- Beginning the test before instructed to do so;
- Stopping to regain balance;
- The heel not touching the toe;
- Stepping off of the line;
- Using arms to keep balance;
- Turning improperly; and
- Taking an incorrect amount of steps
If you have recently been criminally charged and were administered a WAT test, it is important that you remember that a failed test does not equate to a criminal conviction. Just because you were told that you fail the test does not mean that you will ultimately be found guilty. Keep in mind that combined with the other two standardized tests, there is only a 90% level of accuracy. Unfortunately, extenuating circumstances and factors, such as medical conditions, can all contribute to a subject appearing to fail, even if they are stone cold sober.