MORE than 400 drink-driving incidents were detected the morning after nights out in the first nine months of the year.
As the country gears up for the party season, the Road Safety Authority (RSA) and drinkaware.ie have launched a campaign reminding drivers to remember the 'morning after' when they are out celebrating over Christmas.
And they have warned that "no amount of coffee, energy drinks, cold showers or breakfast rolls" will speed up the process of sobering up after a night of revelry.
Garda figures show that more than 400 people were caught drink-driving between the hours of 8am and 1pm between January and September this year.
The detections all occurred on Saturday, Sunday and Monday mornings, when drivers are most likely to still have alcohol in their system after drinking the night before and half of the drivers were less than 35 years old.
John Caufield, the interim chief executive of the RSA, said: "The majority of people are doing the right thing and leaving the car keys at home when heading out for a few drinks. There is no doubt this behaviour is saving lives."
However, he said: "These very same people are unaware that with the introduction of the new lower drink drive limits, when they get behind the wheel the next morning they could still have alcohol in their system, and still be unfit to drive.We want to make people aware of the danger of drink driving the following morning so they can continue to do the right thing."
Chief executive of drinkaware.ie said that it takes an hour for the body to get rid of one standard drink which is half a pint, a small glass of wine or a pub measure of spirits.
She appealed to drivers to "do the maths the morning after" adding: "If you don't think that you're okay to drive, then don't risk it."
Con O'Donohue from the Garda National Traffic Bureau said: "Any alcohol impairs driving and increases the risk of being involved in a collision.
"Combine even a small amount of alcohol in your system with tiredness after a late night out and the risk of being involved in a collision is even higher.
"Gardai will be playing its part in trying to ensure it is a safe Christmas on our roads and as part of this will be carrying out breath tests throughout the country," he said adding it's best to abstain if you have to drive the next day".