The U.S. Department of Transportation has kicked off its annual campaign aimed at getting drunk drivers of the road.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) also released new data Wednesday indicating that 8 percent of all drivers, as many as 17 million people, have driven drunk at least once during the past year.

The law enforcement crackdown will run through Labor Day and involve thousands of police agencies from across the nation.

"Drunk driving is deadly, it's against the law, and unfortunately, it's still a problem," said Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. "With the help of law enforcement around the country, we are going to continue doing all that we can to stop drunk driving and the needless tragedies that result from this reckless behavior."

NHTSA's research revealed that about one in five Americans have driven within two hours of drinking alcohol in the past year. Four out of five Americans identified drunk driving as a "major threat" to their own and their family's safety.

The survey noted that those who reported that they drink and drive consumed alcohol more regularly than individuals who drink but choose not to drive afterwards. About 28 percent said they consumed alcoholic beverages three or more days a week, compared to 10 percent of drivers who drink but do not drive afterwards.

"Our message is loud and clear," said NHTSA Administrator David Strickland. "If you drive drunk you will be arrested and prosecuted. There will be no exceptions and no excuses."

To view the survey, click here.