GLOUCESTERSHIRE'S December drink drive campaign has been praised for helping bring down the number of motorists arrested in the run up to the New Year.

Roadside police checks were stepped up for the Eat, Think, Be Merry campaign, from December 1, 2013 to January 1 , while warnings were promoted across the county urging people not to drink and drive.

During the crackdown, 1,569 drivers were stopped, with 57 people arrested, compared to 1,835 roadside checks in December 2012, with 69 arrests.

And for the first time this year, the county’s Road Policing Unit was joined by Special Constables at roadside checks.

Chief Fire Officer Jon Hall, who is also head of operations at the Road Safety Partnership, said: “It’s encouraging to see the number of drivers caught over the limit has fallen, but it’s frustrating to see that some people are still not getting the message.

“Drink driving costs lives, and we will continue to educate people locally. If lessons aren’t learnt drivers can expect to be arrested and dealt with by the courts.”

Figures show on average, three drivers a day fail a breath test in Gloucestershire.

In 2012, two collisions in the county a week involved someone who was drink driving and from these, 31 people received fatal or serious injuries.

Kevin Roseblade, inspector for roads policing at Gloucestershire Police, said: “We're pleased that these results show a decrease, albeit slight, in the percentage of people failing breath tests.

“I can reassure people that our efforts to foster safe and social driving, a central part of our police and crime plan, will continue all year round and that we are determined to reduce the number of people putting their own lives and the lives of others at risk.”