Unless you work as a stock trader or in the mergers and acquisitions field, you probably don't keep track of which businesses are bought and sold in the U.S. But one recent corporate transaction might have an effect on the drivers here in Washington.
This week, National Patent Analytical Systems' breath alcohol testing business was acquired by Intoximeters, Inc., marking a consolidation in the breath alcohol testing equipment industry. Intoximeters, which is based in St. Louis, produced testing devices called Alcosensors that are used by law enforcement agencies in Washington and across the world.
NPAS of Mansfield, Ohio sells its Datamaster DMT line of machines that perform the same function (along with all of the related accessories); and these machines are also approved for use in Washington. The main difference between Alcosensors and Datamaster DMTs is that the former uses infrared technology to detect alcohol on the breath of DUI suspects, while the latter is based around fuel cell technology.
What does this mean for breath testing for alcohol in Washington? It's hard to predict what (if anything) will happen. But one possible scenario is that the consolidation of companies that make breath testing equipment will result in higher costs for these products (because less competition drives up prices). Since Washington's law enforcement agencies will have to pay more, they may try and pass these higher costs onto people who have been convicted of driving under the influence.
Washington has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars in the last several years to purchase new breath testing machines from the Draeger Company but so far hasn't been able to put those machines into use.
What do you think the impact of this merger will mean for Washington drivers? Feel free to leave your answers in the Comments section.