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The Champion

June 2007 , Page 44 

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By J. Gary Trichter,W. Troy McKinney

Neutralizing the Romberg

In the national police arsenal of divided attention field sobriety tests, the Police Romberg Balance Test (also called the “head tilt”) is often touted by law enforcement as an accurate and reliable indicator to determine if a suspected driver is intoxicated. Indeed, the Police Romberg Test is the first of four tests required to be used by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s certified drug recognition experts. It is often mistaken for a medical test simply called “the Romberg.”

The administration of the Police Romberg Test calls for the investigating officer to give the following instructions:

  1. Put your feet together;
  2. Keep your arms by your sides;
  3. Tilt your head slightly back;
  4. Close your eyes; and
  5. Silently estimate 30.

No instruction is given to refrain from moving or swaying. Observing the suspect’s performance, the officer allegedly passes or fails a person based on the amount of sway and the estimation of time. Not

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