A total of 9,148 people were arrested for suspected drink driving in a police clampdown on the roads during the festive period.
Almost 300 drunk or incapacitated drivers were caught each day across England and Wales as police targeted people suspected of having consumed drink or drugs.
Chief Constable Mick Giannasi, of Gwent Police, said it was worrying some drivers see themselves as "above the law" and are willing to put their lives, and those of others, at risk.
He said: "Drink and drug drive collisions not only devastate the lives of victims and their families, but they also ruin the lives of the offenders. Alcohol and drugs can impair your ability to judge speed and distances, reduce concentration and delay reaction speed."
Between December 1 and January 1, officers in 43 forces breathtested 183,397 drivers, 25,000 more than the previous year's campaign.
Road safety minister, Jim Fitzpatrick, said: "Drivers should be left in no doubt - get behind the wheel after a drink and you are more likely to be caught than ever before. This isn't just a message for Christmas, it's for every day of the year. Drink driving ruins lives. In 2007, 460 people died and families across Britain were devastated - don't do it."
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