Who makes those little hand-held gadget the San Diego area DUI police use to test you in the street or along the road?

As far as the hand-held DUI breath testing market, the gadget called “Alco-Sensor”, Intoximeters Inc. is “Microsoft-ish,” brags the world’s next richest man – Chief Executive Rankine Forrester Jr. They were there first maker. Costs go down once more gadgets are made.

DUI breath gadgets’ sales have tripled from about $75 million in 2007 to $247.5 million this year and is projected to reach $376.4 million by 2013, DUI Lawyers in San Diego hear.

Roughly 70 percent of Intoximeters’ nearly $30 million in annual revenue comes from domestic instrument sales and services. The company sells to law enforcement agencies, crime labs, workplaces, hospitals and schools across the country and around the world from its white brick headquarters perched on a low hill near West Port Plaza. In addition to breathalyzer instruments and the single-use mouthpieces that are inserted into them for sobriety tests, revenue is increasingly coming from software development and data-management services.

Intoximeters claims an approximately 30 percent market share of the desktop breathalyzers used in police stations and other locations and an 80 percent share of the market for portable hand-held instruments. Intoximeters’ products are manufactured exclusively by Brentwood-based Alcotek Inc. under contract.

Since the mid-1990s, the U.S. Department of Transportation has required alcohol testing of safety-sensitive employees — air traffic controllers, commercial pilots, truck drivers, mechanics, ferry captains, train conductors and the like. Today, half of Intoximeters’ business comes from workplace orders.

About 5 percent of Intoximeters’ revenue comes from training services it provides to law enforcement agencies and others.

Intoximeters does face competition, primarily from Drager, a German medical and safety technology giant that includes breath alcohol analyzers among its many lines of business, and privately held CMI Inc. of Owensboro, Ky. Yet Intoximeters reports steady growth, with revenue climbing an average of 15 percent a year for the past 50 years, attorneys learned.

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