Count California among the states participating in the nationwide “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign, running now to the first week of September. Police across the state are ramping up efforts to find people who get behind the wheel after a few drinks and get them off the road.

Among their efforts drivers in California can expect to see more police on the roads, especially in areas where statistics show the incidence of drunk driving is high, and increased use of police DUI checkpoints where all drivers are stopped and checked for alcohol. Checkpoints have proven to be an effective tool in combating the scourge of drunk driving, which is why police are increasingly using them in their DUI campaigns.

California is hardly alone in the nationwide crackdown on drunk driving. But with the fifth largest economy in the world, and a population greater than in most nations, California sees more than its fair share of drunk driving.

In 2010, the last year for which data is available, nearly 800 people lost their lives on California roadways as a result of drunk driving. For people between the ages of 21-24, the risk of dying in a drunk driving related crash are greatly increased.

California Office of Traffic Safety leads the national “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign with funds provided by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. States are not obligated to participate in the program but those that do receive additional money to fund increased patrols to help keep drunk drivers off the streets.

In California, as in most other states, drivers convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol face stiff penalties including heavy fines and points added to their driving record; the possibility of suspension or driving privileges and/or the forced use of interlock ignition device (plus all fees associated with its use) which requires them to submit to a self-administered breathalyzer test every time they want to drive their car any where.