Bay of Plenty police nabbed more than 1200 drivers over the alcohol limit last year, latest statistics show.
The provisional figures released to the Bay of Plenty Times for the Western Bay of Plenty show police caught 1258 drivers over the alcohol limit in 2016, translating to more than three drunk drivers a day being nabbed.
Western Bay of Plenty police head of road policing Senior Sergeant Ian Campion said the number was expected to increase as blood samples sent away for testing returned.
In 2015, police caught a total of 1278 drunk drivers, compared to 871 the year prior.
Mr Campion said the lowering of the drink drive limit had likely contributed to the increase.
Under the rules, which came into force in December 2014, adult drivers who failed an evidential breath test of between 251 and 400mcg receive a $200 fine and 50 demerits.
Drivers who had more than 400mcgs of alcohol per litre of breath, or more than 50ml of alcohol in their blood, face criminal convictions and other sanctions, including licence disqualifications.
Mr Campion said increased traffic on the region's roads was another factor.
Mr Campion said he was also concerned by driver impatience .
Police issued 235 speeding tickets in the Western Bay between December 26 and January 1.
''People just need to understand the speed limits are there to keep all of our road users safe. Speed has been an issue for us at this time of year. And as well as that, there are a lot of young people on the roads.''
Over the official holiday period, police also issued 168 tickets to drivers in the Western Bay for breaches of their learner's or restricted licences. Police were also called to 54 crashes, many of which involved fatigued drivers travelling north from Rhythm & Vines in Gisborne, Mr Campion said.
Speed is a factor in all crashes. It determines the outcome of a crash for you. Only going a few kilometres over the speed limit will be the difference whether you survive or not.
Brake Road Safety Charity director Caroline Perry said the number of drink drivers on the road was still a major problem.
"There is still a significant number of people who selfishly put lives at risk on the road by drinking and getting behind the wheel. It's a completely selfish act," she said.
"Even a small amount of alcohol can affect your ability to drive and at this time of year people need to be aware of morning-after alcohol. If you are having a big night, you could be impaired for the whole of the next day - that's really important people know that."
Ms Perry said speed was also a concern.
"It determines the outcome of a crash for you. Only going a few kilometres over the speed limit will be the difference whether you survive or not.''
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