AUGUSTA — Maine liquor regulators see a correlation between the popularity of nip alcohol bottles and an increase in drunken driving arrests.

Maine had a steady decline in convictions for operating under the influence from 2006 through 2014, when drunken driving convictions plunged 38 percent. But they’ve begun climbing again, growing 8 percent to 3,735 convictions from 2015 to 2016.

The Sun Journal reports that the director of the Bureau of Alcoholic Beverages and Lottery Operations declared the correlation to be “disturbing.”

Gregory Mineo said nips can be consumed in a “single swig” and tossed out a vehicle’s window so a motorist can avoid getting caught with an open container.

Gov. Paul LePage took steps to ban the sale of nip-size liquor bottles after lawmakers added them to the state’s bottle-deposit law.