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The Champion

August 2012 , Page 40 

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NHTSA’s Visual Cues For Impairment Of Motorcyclists

By Ava George Stewart and J. J. Paul, III

Editor’s Note: The idea for this article, its research, and its original draft were the work of Ava George Stewart. The final draft and integration of riding techniques were the work of J. J. Paul, III - a motorcyclist since 1972.

In the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) DWI Detection and Standardized Field Sobriety Testing Program, police are trained in “DWI Detection Phases.” The phases are vehicle in motion (phase one), personal contact (phase two), and pre-arrest screening (phase three). This article addresses phase one — vehicle in motion. More specifically, it discusses the cues that apply to the vehicle in motion when that vehicle is a motorcycle.1 

The phase one decision for the police officer, based upon the officer’s observations of the vehicle in motion, is whether to stop the vehicle. The NHTSA Student Manual, 2006 (manual) presents 24 Visual Cue Descriptions for four-wheeled vehicles that it indicates police may use to detect nighttime impaired driver

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