The Romberg Balancing Test
The Romberg test, which was originally created by German ear specialist Moritz Heinrich Romberg to diagnose diseases via balance assessment, is now used by law enforcement in field sobriety testing. While it is true that the test is not a standardized field sobriety tests, its modified version is commonly used by the police today.
Basically, the Romberg test requires test takers to position themselves with their feet together, their hands down to their sides, their heads tilted back, and their eyes shut. Several variations have arisen from the common form of the test, however, and these variants are often referred to as the “modified position of attention” or the “sharpened” Romberg. For more information about the Romberg test and its use in your particular case, you may want to contact a knowledgeable Orange County DUI attorney to assist you.
In a clinical sense, the amount of sway that a subject demonstrates is used to assess certain things, such as aging, injury, illnesses, exposure to drugs, exhaustion or stress, and clinically, a positive Romberg test means that there is an actual loss of balance. In clinical settings, the test is always done with one’s eyes initially open in order to establish a performance baseline.
However, with respect to the use of the test by law enforcement, the amount of sway that a subject shows is assumed to be directly linked to one’s alcohol impairment, without the establishment of a baseline. Nevertheless, any skilled Orange County DUI specialist will tell you that the key to the Romberg test’s reliability depends on whether a nexus can be established between one’s normal performance and alcohol-induced performance. Measuring a test taker’s normal baseline performance is vital for determining whether there has been a change from normal performance and whether any change can be ascribed to a person’s alcohol intake.
Because figuring out a person’s baseline is practically impossible in normal law enforcement settings, having data on the typical range of performance for the general population is crucial. If you need the skills of an Orange County DUI specialist, please call Mike Coffey for a free consultation.