Dorset has one of the highest number of drink drivers in the UK.

New figures from car hiring specialists Leasing Options have revealed that Dorset Police has been ranked fifth in the UK for the total number of drink and drug driving arrests with officers arresting 849 people last year, averaging 1.19 arrests per 1,000 people.

The county came behind Devon and Cornwall, West Yorkshire and Dyfed-Powys with Northern Ireland Police coming out on top with an average of 1.65 arrests per 1,000 people.

Mike Thompson, Leasing Options researcher, said: “It’s shocking to see just how many adults are driving under the influence of drugs or drink. The rise in drink drive accidents across the country shows that this continues to be a huge issue on UK roads, while adding drug driving to the mix makes the figures even more alarming.

“We hope to raise awareness of how driving under the influence of even prescription drugs can put others at risk, and how UK drivers can help make the roads safer.

“Drivers need to take extra precautions and be aware when they may be over the limit. If you’re not sure, arrange a designated driver, leave your keys at home or book a taxi - driving under the influence really isn’t worth the risk.”

Amanda Stretton, motoring editor at, added: "Drink driving is a dangerous and punishable offence, which can seriously impact the safety of our roads and other road users at risk.

"To avoid getting caught out, we suggest drivers stop drinking early if they know that they had to get behind the wheel in the morning but the best advice would be to avoid drinking alcohol at wall."

It comes after Dorset Police charged 53 people with drink driving related offences during a Christmas drink and drug drive campaign.

During that time, the force also recorded 95 arrests during the campaign – 42 of which were for driving under the influence of drugs, 46 for drink driving and seven for failing to provide a sample for analysis.

In response, Police Constable Heidi Moxam, of the Dorset Police traffic unit, said: “Too many people who are otherwise law-abiding citizens fail to consider the untold devastation that drink and drug driving can cause.

"This year, we have placed a greater targeted approach on catching those drink driving on our roads and carried out increased patrols to catch those driving under the influence of drugs.

"I have been the person knocking on the door to inform relatives that their loved one has been killed as a result of a motorist who thinks it is okay to get behind the wheel while under the influence. This is something that I do not want to do."

A Dorset Police spokesman added: “Dorset Police is committed to tackling drink driving throughout the county.

"Our efforts include pro-active targeting of offenders, high visibility patrols and road checks to deter offenders, and management of drivers suspected of drink driving under the Operation Dragoon initiative."