There was a 20% fall in the number of people failing breath tests over the Christmas period.
The successful reduction demonstrates the need for tough enforcement if the battle against drink-driving is to be won, said Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA).
Police in England and Wales breath-tested a record 155,000 drivers during the festive campaign (6.4% more than the previous year), but the number of motorists failing or refusing to take a test fell from 9,658 to 7,774.
“Although this still means around 250 people a day were caught drinking and driving during December, the police are to be congratulated on the major progress made on the previous year,” Kevin Clinton, head of road safety at RoSPA, said.
“It shows that drink-driving is not inevitable, and that it can be reduced if the correct measures are taken.”
ROSPA is calling for the current drink-drive limit reduced from 80mg to 50mg, which it says would save around 65 lives and 230 serious injuries.
Between 50mg and 80mg drivers are two to two-and-a-half times more likely to be involved in an accident and six times more likely to be in a fatal crash.
Cathy Keeler, head of campaigns for Brake said: “Increased enforcement has clearly had a positive impact on the number of drink-drivers being caught, but current traffic policing levels are still disgracefully low.
"While Brake welcomes the increased number of tests being conducted, we need to see this level of enforcement year round; drink-driving is not just a seasonal threat.”