As the largest state in the US, Texas is known for a lot of great things – the Dallas Cowboys, big hair, brisket – but unfortunately, it was also known as one of the most dangerous places to drive for a time. In fact, in 2013, the Lone Star State led the nation in the number of deaths caused by drunk drivers with 1,337 deaths and just under 65,000 DUI arrests, according to Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD). For that year, Texas accounted for 39.5% of all alcohol traffic deaths nationwide.
In response, MADD and similar organizations advocated for Texas to require ignition interlocks for all convicted drunk drivers. That law finally passed in June 2015, and today, Texas has the highest number of interlocks on the road with almost 40,000. The state is working with companies like Blow and Drive Interlock Corp. (BDIC) to provide its breath test ignition interlock devices to drivers, including DUI/DWI offenders that are court-mandated to have one. The company looks to set itself apart from competitors with “the nation’s first NHTSA approved digital, touchscreen, GPS enabled wireless ignition interlock device” according to Laurence Wainer, Chief Executive Officer and founder.
As part of its expansion into the state of Texas, Blow and Drive announced a significant milestone last month that the company is going to provide its BDI 747 ignition interlock devices to the Texas Probation Community Supervision and Corrections Department in Denton and Lubbock Counties. In addition, the company will now be distributing in Bexar County, which includes San Antonio, Texas’ second-largest market.
The Texas Ignition Interlock Market and Beyond
Texas is a key state for Blow and Drive, as a huge market with high demand for its product. In addition to Texas, the company’s device is approved in 10 other states including, California, Oregon, New York, Pennsylvania, Colorado, Kentucky, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Arizona and Kansas. “Research from companies such as Forbes and Bloomberg are forecasting that the implications of this passing legislation being championed by MADD will result in the ignition interlock industry exponentially expanding and reaching $1.1 billion to $3.2 billion as early as years 2018-2020,” said Abraham Summers, Chief Financial Officer of Blow and Drive interlock. “Since the beginning, we have been closely following these developments, witnessing this reality on a day-to-day basis, and accordingly have been strategically positioning BDIC to become the leading manufacturer and distributor in the entire sector.”
Adding more deployment in Texas will only further increase Blow and Drive’s brand awareness and revenue from fully monetized units. Since BDIC leases their devices to DUI offenders on a monthly basis, the company collects revenues and fees on each device in the field until the offenders are discharged from the acting program or state agency. By year-end 2017, BDIC intends to have over 10,000 ignition interlock devices leased and generating revenue. The company has increased leased units from December 2016 to March of this year by 145%.
Texas and other states are not only employing ignition interlock devices to help keep the roads safe, but they are looking to use devices that can offer the most relevant data for law enforcement.
“Most of our competitors are using devices that were manufactured before ‘Bluetooth’ was even a word in the English language,” Wainer said in a recent interview. “Our device is so much more modern…it’s wireless, it has GPS technology, it has camera technology.” Blow and Drive Interlock designed their machine in 2014 and received their NHTSA approval and began leasing devices in the state of California in 2015, this gave them the opportunity to pack their machine with technology that is revolutionizing the criminal offender-monitoring industry.
Continued Expansion and Growth for BDIC
Wainer said in his letter to shareholders that “2016 was a year of major growth and tremendous progress for the Company,” and it’s obviously been building upon that momentum thus far in 2017. The company has finalized a recent production run of 2,700 ignition interlocks and then immediately announced beginning another 1,000-unit run of production for 1,000 additional machines, of which the company financed without taking on any additional debt.
States are also passing more stringent laws that increase the likelihood an offender would require an ignition interlock device. Thirty states currently require an ignition interlock device after the first conviction with a blood alcohol concentration of .08 or greater.
California’s program is a pilot as of the current, but goes statewide in January 2019. The was passed in 2016 and, when it goes in effect in 2019, would make interlocks mandatory in the entire state, creating a $100 million per year interlock market just in California alone.
The reason for the delay is so that other counties and courts can set up necessary infrastructure, but also so that all the interlock providers have time to update their technologies to the newest NHTSA specifications. The 2019 implementation rules will require newer and updated technologies making many of the old machines non-compliant with the state’s new rules. The cost of some of these upgrades is going to result in some of the existing interlock providers going out of business or exiting the market.
States that Blow and Drive is currently in.
In addition, thirteen other states require an ignition interlock device after the first conviction with a BAC of .15 or greater. More and more states are looking to reduce dangerous roadways. Six of those thirty states changed their laws in the last two years. Currently operating in 11 states, BDIC has plenty of room for growth and expansion across the nation.
BDIC is very focused on growing its market share and looks to expand its reach into more and more states, especially those that need to modernize their systems to effectively enforce their driving laws or with newly enacted DUI laws, because typically state legislatures implementing new DUI laws are adopting the most modern NHTSA guidelines for their interlock providers.
“In this business, a state-of-the-art breath alcohol ignition interlock device is not so much a concern of the consumer. Although consumers drive sales, it is more of a function of the people who are in the industry – judges, parole officers, law officers, the Department of Motor Vehicles – whoever you are doing the reporting to, as well as the people who deal with these devices on a daily basis,” Wainer said recently. “The distributors who have been working in the business for many years have been working with old and ancient equipment.” Most of the ignition interlocks currently in use through the administrative and criminal justice systems across the country are over a decade old and serviced by a network of independent distributors representing one of the three major global manufacturing conglomerates. Wainer added, “Our plan is to go in there and flip those distributors over to our device. This way we are putting 600 or 1,600 units in the market overnight as opposed to one criminal offender at a time that would take years and years to do.”
While it’s still early, 2017 is proving to be a promising year for BDIC. The company will also be looking to complete its Marijuana Interlock device, which should see high demand due to law enforcement departments implementing “Drive High and Get a DUI” campaigns. As marijuana legalization continues to expand through the US and Canada, Blow and Drive is strategically placing themselves to be the leader in this next generation of criminal offender monitoring, which could be a major growth market its perfectly positioned to lead.
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