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Understanding the horizontal gaze nystagmus test

After a drunk driving arrest in Nebraska, it is understandable that you may feel you have few if any options to defend yourself. However, you should take the opportunity to learn about the details of the tests used in determining your alleged intoxication or impairment as these may provide you the ability to fight the charges against you.

According to, none of the three tests used and approved by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration have high rates of accuracy associated with determining a person's intoxication. The horizontal gaze nystagmus test has the highest accuracy rate of the three and that is only a 77 percent rate. This test evaluates a function of the eye that typically occurs but can be exacerbated when a person is impaired. This function is a jerking or bouncing of the eyeball especially as the eye moves closer to the side of the head.

To evaluate this, an officer will put an object roughly one foot in front of a person's nose and move it back and forth and ask the person to follow the movement without moving his or her head at all. Eye jerks are evaluated when in front, at a 45-degree angle and when all the way to the side. There can be medical conditions or injuries to a person's eyes that may influence the eyes' behavior and response to this test.

If you would like to learn more about the horizontal gaze nystagmus test or other elements of a drunk driving arrest procedure, please feel free to visit the impaired driving crimes page of our Arizona criminal defense website.

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