Police Perceptions of Alcohol Intoxication

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Abstract

The accuracy of police perceptions of alcohol intoxication was assessed by comparing officers' impressions of intoxication with quantitative Breathalyzer measurements of blood alcohol concentration (BAC). Eighteen police officers predicted the BACs of 36 students who had consumed either a high or low dosage of alcohol. Results indicated that the officers could not discriminate between students who had consumed either the high or low alcohol dosage. More specifically, the officers were reasonably accurate in their predictions of students in the low alcohol condition, but they strongly underestimated the degree of intoxication of students in the high dose condition.

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