Motorists are being warned to remember the morning after while celebrating over the Christmas period.
More than 400 drivers have been caught drink-driving between 8am and 1pm on Saturday, Sunday and Monday mornings between January and the end of September.
Superintendent Con O’Donohue, of the Garda National Traffic Bureau, said revellers should never put themselves in a position where they risk driving with alcohol in their system.
“Any alcohol impairs driving and increases the risk of being involved in a collision,” he said.
“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.”
The Road Safety Authority (RSA) and drinkaware.ie have launched their “morning after” drink-driving over Christmas. They warned the only way to sober up is time and that no amount of coffee, energy drinks, cold showers or breakfast rolls will speed up the process.
Figures show that over nine months, 101 drivers were caught drink-driving on Saturday mornings and 208 on Sunday mornings – more than five times greater than the mid-week detection figure – with 94 incidents on Mondays.
Half of the drivers involved were less than 35 years old, peaking in the 30-34 age group.
The RSA’s John Caulfield said the majority of people are saving lives by leaving the car keys at home when heading out for a few drinks.
“However, there is now a new problem,” 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.
“That’s why this campaign is so important. We want to make people aware of the danger of drink-driving the following morning so they can continue to do the right thing.”
Fionnuala Sheehan, of drinkaware.ie, said the reality is that many won’t think about what they drank the night before when getting in the car the following morning.
“It takes your body about an hour to get rid of one standard drink,” she added.
“That’s one hour for a half a pint, or a small glass of wine, or a pub measure of spirits.”