The P.E.I. government says public education and targeted enforcement is continuing to drive down the number of impaired driving convictions.

The numbers fell in 2013 for the third consecutive year. From 2013 to 2010 the number of convictions fell 30 per cent, from 424 to 297 convictions.

"This significant improvement shows that people are getting the message that driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is unacceptable in Prince Edward Island," said Transportation Minister Robert Vessey in a news release.

"This is a direct result of tougher legislation and increased public awareness by government in recent years, as well as targeted enforcement activities by our police department partners."

Since 2010, the most significant improvement has been in the drop in first-time-offender convictions. Those numbers have fallen steadily from a peak of 269 convictions to 169 in 2013.

Numbers show ups and downs over decades

This is not the first time in recent history that there has been a significant decline in convictions.

Between 1990 and 1995, the number of convictions on the Island fell steadily from a total of 654 to 432. During this period all three categories of convictions — first, second, and three or more — fell. Following that rates for multiple convictions continued to fall, bottoming out in 2004 at around 120 a year combined. The rates for multiple convictions have remained consistently at that level ever since.

The number of convictions for first-time offences has following a more complicated trend.

After hitting bottom at 203 convictions in 1994, first-time convictions remained at about that annual rate for 12 years, at which point they actually started to rise.

From 2007-10 there were about 250 first-time convictions a year, at which point they started a decline that continued in 2013. The 169 convictions that year were the lowest in 25 years.