In their efforts to keep drunk drivers off the road, law enforcement officials must rely on many determinants to decide if a driver is intoxicated. As a recent study shows, examining slurred speech might not be as reliable as once thought. When seeking an Orange County DUI lawyer, consider examining this study’s potential role in your case.
Examining intoxicated speech
In the study, researchers used both intoxicated individuals and actors to determine whether it was possible to judge someone’s level of intoxication from their speech alone. For the first portion of the study, researchers recruited test subjects who qualify as light, moderate and heavy drinkers. Subjects were directed to speak during a “learning phase,” with no intoxication, and during four other phases while intoxicated at different BAC levels, short for Blood Alcohol Content. Later, researchers also hired actors to simulate sober and intoxicated speech, using similar test phases of intoxication.
The first group of subjects did exhibit typical changes in speech impairment as they became more intoxicated, but the researchers specified that results couldn’t qualify as “universal” because 20 percent of subjects demonstrated negative changes, or a complete lack of change. Research also showed that sober actors acting intoxicated were rated 88 percent more intoxicated than when actually sober. Another study demonstrated that the actors managed to sound less inebriated than they actually were, sounding more sober 61 percent of the time. If slurred speech played a major role in your DUI, this might prove an interesting study to share with your Orange County DUI lawyer.
Another study utilized recordings by Captain Hazelwood of the Exxon Valdez, dating from the Prince William Sound accident in Alaska. While researchers were able to analyze many changes in his speech, they specified that making judgments based on the recordings would prove too limited an analysis.
In later studies comparing intoxicated and sober speech, the participants, college undergraduates and actual Indiana State Troopers, judged recordings to determine which speaker sounded intoxicated and which sounded sober. While participants all agreed that there was certainly a clear difference between the two groups of recordings, not all researchers have concluded that slurred speech in particular can prove moderate BAC levels. Using statistical analysis, some test subjects were recorded reading while sober and drunk, but authors concluded that using the analysis for low levels of blood alcohol was not worthwhile.
These findings regarding intoxicated speech may prove intriguing for yourself and your DUI lawyer. Contact Orange County DUI lawyers Coffey & Coffey at (800) 706-7888 to schedule an appointment and discuss your case.