As part of the effort to reduce the number of alcohol-related automobile accidents in Massachusetts, Gov. Michael S. Dukakis said yesterday that the state plans to increase the number of roadblocks and police patrols around college campuses this fall.
In a State House speech to 150 college representatives from around the state, the governor added that the stepped-up crackdown will coincide with college football season, when most drunk driving accidents occur.
For the first time, Metropolitan District Commission Police will set up roadblocks and check motorists on Memorial Drive and Storrow. Drive somewhere near Harvard late Friday night, Sgt. Charles Hayes said yesterday. He would not disclose the exact location of the roadblocks for security reasons.
"We're not saying that after a game you can't get a beer," Dukakis told the crowd in the State House's Gardiner Auditorium, adding, "but if you have a beer don't get behind the wheel of a car." The governor added that his brother was killed by a hit-and-run driver.
Yesterday's event, which also included speeches by Secretary of Public Safety Charles V. Barry and ex-Boston Celtics center Dave Cowens, is part of a public awareness campaign to alert students to the dangers and criminal penalties of drunk driving.
In addition to the roadblocks Dukakis has ordered increased police patrols to nab drunk drivers, visited local high schools to warn managers about driving while intoxicated, enlisted an estimated 100,000 truck drivers to report suspected cases, and set up alcohol rehabilitation programs for convicted offenders.
Current penalties for driving while intoxicated range from a $100 fine and one-year license suspension for a first offense, to a 60-day mandatory jail term and five-year license suspension for a third and subsequent convictions.
Dukakis said that while he did not approve of a move in the legislature to hike the drinking age from 20 to 21, he would not veto the proposal if it reached him because "there is considerable public sentiment to raise it again." But he added that it was not part of his strategy to reduce automobile fatalities.