Interim figures from the first three days of the campaign, which began on 18 December, showed 818 drivers out of 17,925 failed the breath test across England and Wales.
The Association of Chief Police Officers (Acpo) welcomed the reduction from 5.9 per cent last year (1,045) to 4.6 per cent (818) this year. But it warned that a significant number of drivers were still ignoring the dangers of drink-driving.
This year's Acpo campaign is aimed particularly at the "hard core" of persistent offenders, identified typically as men in their forties.
David Williams, secretary of Acpo's traffic committee and Chief Constable of Surrey, said the figures continued the general downward trend in recent years.
"However, at this time last year we experienced a similar reduction which unfortunately was not sustained throughout the remainder of the campaign.
The police campaign is running in conjunction with the Government's Christmas assault on drink-drivers launched earlier this month.