Q Mothers Against Drunk Driving, or MADD, has been inundated with inquiries about lowering the legal blood alcohol limit for drunken driving from 0.08 percent to 0.05 percent, which is the legal limit in much of Europe and which last week was proposed to become the legal limit in the U.S.

From 1999 to 2010, 20,671 people in California were killed by drunken drivers. During these same years, DUI deaths accounted for 36 percent of all driving fatalities in California.

MADD has Victim Impact Panels (VIPs), where DUI offenders are required to listen to DUI horror stories. All DUI offenders in Contra Costa County are required to attend one of these, and each month there are 400 DUI offenders in Contra Costa County. We recently started having VIPs in Santa Clara County.

It would be great if the legal limit for alcohol was lowered to 0.05 percent. Alcohol and driving do not mix.

Janet Boggs

East Palo Alto

A Janet has much more to discuss. ...

Q Two recent tragedies connected to the Bay Area serve as reminders about the dangers of driving drunk. On March 9, a repeat DUI offender killed three people on the Peninsula. And many of us know that former 49er Delanie Walker's aunt and uncle were killed by a drunken driver in New Orleans after the Super Bowl.

Janet Boggs

A Janet has another reason for supporting a lower DUI threshold: "My son, Ben, is also paying a lifelong price for driving when he was drunk at age 25. He's spending the rest of his life as a quadriplegic because of his choice to get behind the wheel when he was drunk. Please do urge people to report drunken drivers."

Should the 0.08 percent blood alcohol level be lowered to 0.05 percent, as the National Transportation Safety Board recommends? It's the standard in more than 100 countries, and it's been credited with lowering DUI fatalities by 8 percent.

Q Several years ago, I was cut off in traffic by a car making an erratic, unsafe left turn out of a liquor store. I followed, and it was clear they were driving very impaired. I called 911 on my cell and told the dispatcher I would follow at a safe distance until they could collect him.

Based on my description of his path, they waited in a side street and pulled him over as he drove by. The dispatcher later called back to tell me they did not need my witness statement because the two occupants in the vehicle were too drunk to stand up.

No excuse for drunken driving ever.

George Leavell

San Martin

A No excuse, indeed.

Q One day I was at a roadside restaurant and noticed two men in uniform with a volunteer patch on their shoulders. They left and entered a black and white CHP cruiser with volunteer stickers on the rear door panels and drove away.

My questions: Are they authorized to make roadside stops and/or perform arrests? In other words, are they sworn officers? If they are not sworn, what is my correct response to any commands they may issue?

Ken Johnson

Saratoga

A These are the CHP's senior volunteers, of which there are about 20 in the South Bay. They are not armed, nor are they sworn officers, and they cannot make stops or arrests. They are not authorized to issue commands to citizens.

What they do is help the CHP's clerical staff inside the office, deploy radar trailers on the road and put on an "Age Well, Drive Smart" presentation for older drivers.

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