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Roadside Tests for Impairment in Ontario

What are some of the roadside tests for impairment that the police use on suspected drug or drunk drivers?

So you have been pulled over by the police and the officer wants you to do some tests. Do you know which ones you have to do? If an officer suspects you were driving under the influence, they can ask you to blow into a machine or perform coordination tests, which you must comply with.

There are three coordination tests:

first, they will check your eyes using the HGN (Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus) test: the police are looking for involuntary jerking of the eyes;

second, they can make you walk the line: they are looking to see if you are off-balance, miss your heel to toe, turn differently than directed or start before they tell you to begin;

thirdly, they can make you do the one-leg stand test: they will be watching to see if you hop, sway, put your foot down, use your arms for balance, start before you were told or stop counting during the test.

Based on the results of these tests , an officer may determine if you should be taken to the police station for further testing, which may include blood tests and urine samples.

It is important to note that coordination tests are not validated on anyone over the age of 65 or more than 50 lbs. overweight. As well, the tests are not valid on people with physical issues like bad knees, injuries, or eye problems.

Other tests such as touching your nose, or tilting your head back are not proper screening tests and can only be used to determine if you are on drugs and only in the controlled environment of a police station (or similar facility).

When in doubt, ask the officer whether you have to do the tests, or not.

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