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Breathalyzer test data now online

Lawyers working DUI cases now have easier access to test information for the state-owned machines used to test drivers for breath alcohol levels.

The state Department of Forensic Science is now posting the records online, instead of having to copy and mail them each time in response to requests.

One push for the change came from Del. Scott A. Surovell, D-Mount Vernon. He said he has been urging state officials for six months to make the breath alcohol records more accessible.

“I thought it was kind of old fashioned for them to be copying and mailing the same papers to people again and again when they could just PDF their records and put them up online,” Surovell said.

The agency had been discussing the posting of these records online for several years, said DFS chief deputy director Katya N. Herndon.

Surovell contacted the department last year, inquiring about the posting of breath alcohol records online, Herndon said.

“We were happy to be able to advise Del. Surovell that the instrument records are now available on our website,” she said.

The department’s breath alcohol section currently receives an average of 100 requests per week from attorneys seeking copies of the records, Herndon said.

“We anticipate there will be a reduction in the volume of records the breath alcohol section will be required to produce in response to these requests as a result of making the records available online,” she said.

The records now available cover from August 2013 to the present.

The breath alcohol instrument records may include certificates of instrument accuracy, instrument maintenance history, quality assurance worksheets, and associated documentation.  New records will continue to be added to the website as the maintenance is performed and the records are created, Herndon said.

The department is working to find funding to make other records available electronically, Surovell said.

“A step in the right direction!” Surovell said.

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