The problem of impaired driving is a serious one. While America witnessed a decline in the number of DUI fatalities in recent years, the numbers are still too high. That’s why the Goleta Police Department is joining the Avoid the 12, Santa Barbara County DUI Task Force, along with other law enforcement agencies throughout the country in support of an intensive crackdown on impaired driving.

The campaign — known by its tagline, Drunk Driving. Over the Limit. Under Arrest — runs Aug. 20 through Sept. 6.

The Goleta Police Department will conduct DUI/driver’s license checkpoints this Friday and Saturday, Aug. 27-28, at unannounced locations within the city limits.

“All too often, innocent, law-abiding people suffer tragic consequences and the loss of loved ones due to this careless disregard for human life,” said Christopher Murphy, director of the California Office of Traffic Safety. “Because of the commitment to end the carnage, police, sheriffs and CHP are intensifying enforcement during the crackdown. They’ll be especially vigilant during high-risk nighttime hours when impaired drivers are most likely to be on our roads.”

According to the latest data, 32 percent of fatalities in motor vehicle traffic crashes involve a driver or motorcycle rider with a blood alcohol content of .08 percent or above, averaging one fatality every 45 minutes.

“Our message is simple and unwavering. If we find you driving impaired, we will arrest you. No exceptions,” Goleta Police Chief Butch Arnoldi said. “Even if you beat the odds and walk away from an impaired-driving crash alive, motorists should be aware that the financial and social consequences of a DUI can be devastating.”

Violators will face jail time, loss of their driver’s license, huge fines and maybe sentenced to use ignition interlocks. Their insurance rates go up. Other financial hits include attorney fees, court costs, lost time at work, and the potential loss of job or job prospects. When family, friends and co-workers find out, violators can also face tremendous personal embarrassment and humiliation.

“Driving impaired is simply not worth all the consequences,” Arnoldi said. “Just designate a sober driver. Don’t take the chance. Remember, if you are over the limit, you’re under arrest.”

The national Drunk Driving. Over the Limit. Under Arrest. crackdown is led by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the California Avoid DUI Task Force Campaign combining high-visibility enforcement with heightened public awareness through publicity.

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— Drew Sugars is a public information officer for the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department.