Breath Alcohol Website Back After Month Long Stint

By Christy Aumer, Reporter

Linn County Deputy Barry Buzynski signs the screen after a demonstration of the breathalyzer machine on Friday, Aug. 24, 2012, at the Linn County Jail OWI processing area in Cedar Rapids. Breathalyzer test results are now uploaded into a DCI website that displays case number and date of birth. (Liz Martin/The Gazette-KCRG)

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By Belinda Yeung

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - After a month of being offline, a state-launched website that allows the public to search for breath alcohol test results is back as of Thursday afternoon.

The website went down roughly a month ago, primarily because of fears that the easily accessible information could violate a defendant’s right to a fair trial. Before the website went down, it contained the date of birth and case number for each entry. According to Iowa County Attorney’s Association Executive Director Corwin Ritchie, by removing the date of birth and case numbers column, the website should now be in the clear.

“I think what the issue was in some small counties where there are very few breath tests being done, it would be very easy to put two and two together and figure out who it was,” Criminalist Jim Bleskacek of the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation said.

After getting approval from the Attorney General’s Office and Governor Terry Branstad’s Office, Bleskacek said. It should hopefully, be up for good. However, the website still has some bugs to work out. Ideally, the website has data from June 2010 to present, totaling about 40,000 tests. But after the website went live Thursday afternoon, Bleskacek noticed not all the records were available.

“It looks like when it went back up, there was no new data since September 20,” Bleskacek said. “But hopefully it will be resolved in the next 24 hours.” Bleskacek added that the average blood alcohol test result has been 0.147, nearly double the legal limit and has been that way for decades.

“The goal of the website is to show we have a serious drinking and driving problem in the state,” Bleskacek said. “We advertised in the media and radio that officers are looking for you and you’re going to get pulled over. And this site was meant to be back that statement up.”

“We have a problem, and I wanted to show it,” Bleskacek said.

“You’re driving on the same roads as these people are and are just as likely of passing them on the road, or unfortunately, having them run head on into you. We can only enforce so much, and public awareness is something and that is what this site is meant to do.”

To see the breath alcohol website, click here.

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