Driving Patterns Associated With Drunk Driving in Nevada
Explained by Las Vegas DUI Defense Lawyers

driver in middle of road during bad traffic congestion

What makes Nevada law enforcement pull a driver over for DUI?

Anyone can get pulled over for a traffic violation. But certain infractions are more likely to make an officer suspect that the driver may be drunk or drugged.

Our caring Las Vegas and Reno DUI defense lawyers see it all the time. Someone violates a traffic law and is immediately suspected of DUI – even when all they were was distracted or in a hurry.

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) has identified 20 common "driving symptoms" exhibited by drunk drivers. Nevada law enforcement is aware of NHTSA guidelines and takes them into account.

For each “symptom” listed below, the NHTSA has assigned a numeric probability that a driver displaying such a symptom is under the influence. If a driver exhibits multiple behaviors, the NHTSA suggests adding 10% to the highest valued symptom.

  • Example: A visitor to the Las Vegas Strip drives with his headlights off after dark and makes an illegal turn into opposing traffic. Both are possible symptoms of inebriation. But at 45%, turning into opposing traffic is the higher probability indicator that the driver may be drunk or stoned. So an officer would add 10% to that figure and determine that there is a 55% chance the driver is under the influence.

The 20 most common drunk driving "symptoms"

The NHTSA DUI driving symptoms and their probabilities are:

  • Turning with a wide radius: 65%
  • Straddling center or lane marker: 65%
  • Appearing to be drunk: 60%
  • Almost striking an object or vehicle: 60%
  • Weaving: 60%
  • Driving outside the designated roadway: 55%
  • Swerving: 55%
  • Slow speed (more than 10 mph below the speed limit): 50%
  • Stopping in traffic (without a reason): 50%
  • Drifting: 50%
  • Following too closely (tailgating): 45%
  • Driving with tires on center or lane marker: 45%
  • Erratic braking: 45%
  • Driving into opposing traffic: 45%
  • Signaling inconsistently with driving actions: 40%
  • Stopping inappropriately (other than in lane): 35%
  • Turning abruptly or illegally: 35%
  • Accelerating or decelerating suddenly: 30%
  • Headlights off after dark: 30%

You may have noticed that speeding is not on this list. While many DUI cases begin with a driver getting pulled over for driving too fast, studies show no significant correlation between speeding and DUI.

Charged with DUI in Las Vegas or Reno? Call us for help…

If you or someone you know has been arrested for DUI or another serious Nevada driving offense, we invite you to contact us for a free consultation.

Our compassionate DUI defense lawyers understand that there are many reasons why people commit traffic violations… and that innocent people are often arrested for DUI.

To schedule your free case evaluation, call us at 702-DEFENSE (702-333-3673) or fill out the form on this page. One of our experienced Nevada DUI defense attorneys will get back to you promptly to discuss the best defense to your Nevada DUI charges.

If you were arrested in California, we invite you to contact our California DUI defense lawyers.

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