Lincolnshire Police yesterday released its Christmas Drink and Drug Campaign figures – which also showed they received 181 texts warning them of potential drink drivers.
Officers administered 1,233 breath tests where the driver had not been involved in a collision and a further 407 where drivers had been.
Of the total 1,640 tests between December 1 and January 1, 71 drivers were arrested for providing a positive breath test or for failing to provide a test.
The same period last year resulted in 117 people arrested.
John Siddle of the Lincolnshire Road Safety Partnership, said because of media coverage, members of the public became aware they could anonymously text and report a suspected drink driver. Police would then follow up on that information.
The average number of breath tests given each month is about 1,100 so there was a significant increase in the number administered but with fewer arrests.
“The Partnership decided on a data-led approach this year which enabled the direct targeting of suspected drink-drivers.
“The fact that 181 texts were received demonstrates the enormous public support for what we were trying to do and that is allowing members of the public to anonymously pass information easily (and for free) to the police to rid Lincolnshire of drink drivers.
“The texting initiative was unique to Lincolnshire and we have already had an approach from a force which was following up on the publicity.”
In the summer campaign, held throughout June, 732 drivers were breath-tested and 70 failed the test or refused and were arrested.
“That campaign was the pilot scheme of the text service using the data initiative to increase our intelligence on drivers who drink,” added Mr Siddle.
“We were satisfied with our efforts, delighted with the public response but very disappointed that 71 drivers saw fit to risk the lives of others and their own livelihoods by drinking and driving.”
An evaluation is currently being carried out to establish how many of the text reports led to an arrest.