Since Directed announced it purchased ignition interlock company Alcohol Detection Systems (ADS) in January, it has rolled out a breathalyzer to car audio dealers in several states and will kick off a push into California starting this week.
Directed plans to add over 170 dealers in California over the next 9 months for the ADS ignition interlock, which is an advanced device that offers voice instructions for usage and for reminders, such as when its time for a rolling retest or when the device is due for calibration.
The ADS ignition interlock is already authorized in 25 states but it is not yet widely distributed in many of them. Directed is going state to state, asking dealers to sign up and building out its network.
“We’ve been expanding fairly aggressively in key states including Tennessee, Pennsylvania and Arizona and we’re excited to kick off California this week,” said Directed Senior VP and General Manager, Ignition Interlock Business, Craig Armstrong.
Directed expects to take over ADS technical support in the next few months.
Next year, Directed will move aggressively into Connecticut, New Jersey and Massachusetts. Currently there are about 400 dealers for ADS breathalyzers, and Directed expects to increase that to 700.
Use of ignition interlocks is growing rapidly as states pass stricter laws. States that once mandated the devices after 2 or 3 offenses are now requiring them after a first offense as the interlocks are shown to save lives. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety found that requiring the devices for all DUI offenders reduced the number of impaired drivers in fatal crashes by 16 percent.
So the market is growing at a rate of 8 to 11 percent, said Armstrong. There are currently about 360,00 active devices on the road, forecast to hit over 600,000 by the end of 2020.
“We really do believe ignition interlocks save lives…we like this space. And it’s a good business to be in. It’s complementary. Almost all the installation happens in the 12 volt network, and that’s our strength…Our strength is also working around the ignition and that’s what these interlocks do,” Armstrong said.
Under the program, Directed finds interlock customers through its connections to the courts, judges, schools and other institutions. It then recommends 12 volt installers to install the product. In most states, drivers are required to return to the dealer every 30 to 60 days for a calibration to service the device and download its data, which is sent to the state. Directed then compensates the dealer.
The average customer lasts about a year.
In the future, Directed may use its electronics expertise to improve both the installation and features on the interlock. “We think we can bring some of our existing technology to the ignition interlock world, making the devices quicker to install,” said Armstrong. Currently the devices are harder to install in push to start, and hybrid and electric vehicles. But Directed has expertise in this area and hopes to improve installation in these vehicles, he said.
Directed may also add features such as an emergency door unlock or an app that works with a phone.