The first drunk driving arrest was a London taxi driver arrested after crashing into a building on September 10, 1897. After pleading guilty, he was fined 25 shillings - less than $20 in today's value.
The first drunk driving laws for motor vehicles in the United States went into effect in 1910 in New York. The first patent for a breath testing device was in 1936. And in 1953 the Breathalyzer was invented, a much easier to use and, allegedly, more accurate device.
However, it wasn't until the 1970's - 1980's that public awareness increased regarding the dangers of impaired driving and resulted in increasingly tough legislation and enforcement.