Trucking Injury? Motorcycle Injury? Car Accident? We’re Texas WIDE.

Last Updated on August 29th, 2017

Wherever you are, if you’ve been injured in Austin, Texas, we can and will help.

If you are looking for a trucking accidents lawyer in Austin, TX you have come to the right place. The Traub Law Office has provided skilled personal injury representation to clients in the Austin area since 2003. We handle a wide variety of personal injury and wrongful death matters, including cases involving vehicle accidents, dog bites, and slip and fall injuries. We take great pride in the thoroughness with which we prepare accident injury cases. Our attorneys and associates all contribute to our successful record of obtaining compensation for injured persons.

We develop a personal relationship with each client and his or her family. We believe strongly in the importance of ongoing and frequent communication with clients, and update clients personally after every new development. We often visit clients at home or in the hospital to see how their recovery is progressing. We work with creditors to delay collection proceedings when clients face severe financial problems because their injuries forced them to stop working. We have even helped clients obtain short-term loans for their treatment until we recover compensation for them. Our goal is to remove the financial pressure from injured clients, allowing them to focus on recovering their health.  We help clients throughout Texas.

We offer a free initial consultation, and all cases are handled on a contingency fee basis, meaning you do not owe us any attorney’s fees unless and until we successfully recover on your behalf. Weekend and evening consultations are available by appointment, and services are also available for Spanish speaking clients. For a personal injury lawyer who assists with the entire case, not just the legal paperwork, contact the Traub Law Office.

Call 512-246-9191 today.

Punctured tire caused bus crash in Dallas

Last Updated on July 31st, 2017

The National Transportation Safety Board has determined that a punctured tire caused the bus crash that killed 17 members of Houston’s Vietnamese Catholic Community last year.

The August 2008 accident happened when a charter bus carrying 55 passengers to a retreat in Missouri plunged over a highway bridge in Sherman, about 60 miles north of Dallas.

The safety board found that a retreaded tire on the vehicle’s right front axle became underinflated and failed. Federal regulations prohibit retreads from being affixed to the front of buses. However, the fact that the tire was a retread wasn’t cited as a cause of the blowout.

The board also found that the failure of the bridge’s railing and a lack of seat belts contributed to the wreck and its casualties.

Council to vote on ban on texting while driving

Last Updated on July 31st, 2017

Austin City Council members will vote next week on an ordinance that would prohibit text messaging while driving. If approved, it might be the first such citywide texting ban in Texas, officials said.

Drivers could still text while a vehicle is stopped. But the ordinance would ban writing, sending or viewing electronic messages on a cell phone, BlackBerry, iPhone or any other wireless communication device while driving. Electronic messages would include text messages, e-mails, posts on social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook, and “a command or request to access an Internet site,” according to a draft of the ordinance.

The ban would exempt the use of navigational systems or wireless devices permanently installed in a vehicle; texting because a life is in danger or to report a traffic accident or a medical emergency or to prevent a crime; and police officers, firefighters and paramedics who use wireless devices on duty.

A report released in July by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute found that when truck drivers texted, their collision risk was 23 times greater.

A violation would be a Class C misdemeanor, which carries a fine of up to $500 and can be appealed in Municipal Court. That penalty could increase if a driver is texting and committing other traffic violations, such as speeding.

The council unanimously approved the idea of a ban in August, but city staffers needed time to write actual rules. If council members pass the ordinance Oct. 22, it would take effect about a month later.

Eighteen states and the District of Columbia have texting-while-driving bans. A state law that took effect in Texas last month prohibits cell phone use in school zones. Austin and several other area cities, including Pflugerville, Round Rock and San Marcos, have erected signs and are enforcing that law, though some other cities have questioned whether they must enforce it.

The local chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union said a texting ban would be redundant because laws already exist that prohibit dangerous driving behaviors. A public awareness campaign about the risks of texting while driving would be more effective, said Debbie Russell, president of the Central Texas chapter of the ACLU of Texas. The ban could also be tough to enforce, she said.

Donald Baker, commander of the Austin Police Department’s highway enforcement division, said officers will use common sense to enforce the law and look for drivers who are obviously texting. Whether a driver was texting because of an emergency will be up to the officer’s discretion, he said.

Officers already have the authority to ticket drivers for a variety of dangerous behaviors, from speeding to aggressively changing lanes to following a vehicle too closely, Baker said. In some cases, those behaviors are caused by drivers absorbed in texting, he said.

Another safety-related ordinance up for a vote Oct. 22 would require a three-foot distance between vehicles and “vulnerable road users,” such as cyclists, pedestrians and people in wheelchairs. An existing state law requires
safe driving distance between vehicles and bicycles but does not specify how far apart they must be.

Crash suspect has DWI

Last Updated on July 31st, 2017

A 23-year-old Austin man who was charged with murder after a fatal wreck Monday had been convicted in three drunken driving cases and had gotten his license back just over a month ago, according to his arrest affidavit and court documents.

Jaime Bonilla Alvarado, who also goes by Donnie Noel Bonilla, was charged with first-degree murder in the fatal wreck.

His three previous drunken driving offenses occurred in 2006 and 2007 in Travis County and were resolved at the same time.

Alvarado received a sentence of 80 days in jail for the three offenses and lost his driver’s license for one year. According to court documents, he was to receive his license back July 22.

A little more than a month later, Alvarado caused a collision that killed 64- year-old Robert Joel Benn, according to the arrest affidavit.

Leading up to the crash Monday night, a police officer saw Alvarado driving dangerously in his Lincoln Navigator in East Austin. While following him, the officer reported that Alvarado ran several red lights and threw two glass bottles with liquid in them out of the window.

At the intersection of Airport Boulevard and Bolm Road, police said, Alvarado ran a red light and struck Benn’s vehicle. Benn had just arrived in Austin from Tennessee on business.

Alvarado faces up to life in prison if convicted.

Karen Housewright, the state director for Mothers Against Drunk Driving, said that after three drunken driving offenses, Alvarado had proven himself to be irresponsible and that more should have been done to prevent him from driving.

“Here’s a guy who shouldn’t have been on the road,” Housewright said.

Under state law, a person’s third drunken driving conviction makes the offense a third-degree felony, punishable by two to 10 years in prison.

After the second offense, state law calls for a breath-analyzing device to be installed in a person’s vehicle to inhibit the engine from starting if the person has been drinking. It was unclear whether Alvarado’s vehicle had such a device, which is usually required for a year once the driver’s license is reinstated.

“We’ll never know what we could have done to prevent this fatality from occurring,” Housewright said. “It’s just so appalling that somebody with three prior (convictions) was driving at all.”

Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo said Alvarado is an example of why the department has taken an aggressive stance against drunken driving.
“The death of Mr. Benn — a man who on the day his grandchild was born his life was violently taken away,” Acevedo said. “That family needs justice, and we need to ensure that this defendant, who has continued to put people in this city and county at risk, is locked away.”

Alvarado was being held in the Travis County Jail on Thursday evening, with bail set at $760,000. He also has been charged with evading arrest or detention with a vehicle, a state jail felony, and also was being held on an Immigration and Customs Enforcement detainer.

Blood collected under new law

Last Updated on July 31st, 2017

Austin police early Tuesday drew the blood of a drunken driving suspect — without a previously required search warrant who was involved in a crash and had an 11-year-old boy in the car.

The incident happened 28 minutes after a new law took effect that gives police wider authority in the types of cases in which they can draw blood without a search warrant, Austin police Cmdr. Donald Baker said.

Under the new law, authorities may collect the blood of drunken driving suspects if a child younger than 15 is in the car.  The law also gives officers the option to draw the blood of drunken driving suspects without a search warrant if a crash results in an injury that requires hospitalization, among other criteria.

Baker said police responded to a call early Tuesday about the crash in the 3400 block of West William Cannon Drive near Brodie Lane.  The driver, Son Do, 35, faces a charge of driving while intoxicated, a state jail felony, court records show.

The boy was released to his mother, Baker said.

Driver sought in fatal wreck

Last Updated on July 31st, 2017

Police are looking for the driver of a pickup that crashed Sunday morning in the 6100 block of Reicher Drive in Northeast Austin, leaving a passenger dead.

About 6 a.m. Sunday, the driver lost control of a teal Chevrolet pickup, and if flipped over, police said.

The driver fled and has not been identified.

Police are looking for the driver, as well as any witnesses to the crash.  Anyone with information should call 974-4724.

Woman badly burned in wreck

Last Updated on July 31st, 2017

A woman was taken to University Medical Center Brackenrisge hospital by STARFlight Saturday afternoon after she was badly burned on her face during a vehicle crash on Texas 71 West.

The three-vehicle collision took place about 12:30 p.m. near the intersection with Preserve Way.  Nine people were involved in the collision.  Four others besides the burned woman were taken to the hospital, although their injuries appeared to be minor.

Audit shows dental data is unreliable

Last Updated on July 31st, 2017

The state dental board gives the public “inaccurate, incomplete, and inconsistent data,” about Texas dentists and other dental profes
sionals, a long-standing problem that a state audit released last week says weakens the Texas State Board of Dental Examiners’ ability to police dental professionals.

The report by the State Auditor’s Office notes that unreliable and inaccurate data were recurring themes in the most recent audits — in June 2002 and August 2005 — and could hamper the agency’s ability to make enforcement and licensing decisions.

For the public, inaccurate information means that some dentists the board has disciplined are shown as having clean records on the board’s Web site, the audit says. “This puts the public at risk of receiving services from licensees who have committed repeated violations.”

The board’s site shows only whether a dental professional has been disciplined; a public records request is required to find what the person did and what the penalty was.

Various data the board reports to the state about its licensing and disciplinary actions are inaccurate, the audit said.

That’s despite the, fact that the agency spent $118,000 in 2005 on an automated system, activated in 2007, which was designed to improve accuracy. It didn’t work as expected, the agency said, so now the board has obtained money from the Legislature to buy a $644,000 system to fix the problems, according to the audit.

The audit makes a series of recommendations to strengthen accuracy, including using edit checks and other data verification measures.

Auditors making spot checks of internal records identified three complaint records against dentists that the agency listed as “resolved” even before they were received and five complaints that were closed before an investigation was completed. The agency used five different database systems for licensing and enforcement that have various inherent weaknesses and inconsistencies, the audit said. All had missing, contradictory or incorrect information, the audit said, and the agency on its own stopped using one of them.

The 2005 audit said staff members lacked a system to determine whether disciplined dentists were actually doing what the board ordered, and this week’s audit indicates that the problem persists.

“The Enforcement Division assigned one employee part-time to have sole responsibility for ensuring that board-ordered sanctions are enforced,” the new audit said, saying the person relies on “a reminder note previously placed on an electronic calendar.”

“The Agency intends to manually track the compliance cases until it implements a reliable information system. This process and the use of multiple lists rather than one comprehensive list increases the possibility that cases that need Agency follow-up will not be addressed.”

The audit said the dental board reported unreliable information on eight, or 67 percent, of 12 key performance measures that auditors tested for in fiscal year 2008. State Auditor John Keel said the unreliability rate was “on the high end” of performance problems auditors see. He considered the audit “tough but fair” and said he was pleased the agency acknowledged the report’s accuracy.

During the first quarter of the current budget year, the auditors noted an improvement at the agency, saying it reported reliable results for four, or 57 percent, of seven performance measures.

Lawmakers trying to ban texting in the car

Last Updated on July 31st, 2017

Democratic lawmakers recently called for states to ban texting while driving or face cuts in highway money, citing the need to reduce driver distraction and potential highway deaths and injuries.

“When drivers have their eyes on their cell phones instead of the road, the results can be dangerous and even deadly,” said Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., who presented the legislation Wednesday with Democrats Robert Menendez of New Jersey, Mary Landrieu of Louisiana and Kay Hagan of North Carolina.

Fourteen states — Texas is not among them — and the District of Columbia have passed laws making texting while driving illegal.

Questions have arisen, however, over whether the laws could be enforced, whether there is enough data to warrant a ban or if reckless driving statutes already cover texting.

Steve Largent, a former Oklahoma congressman who leads a group kown as CTIA — The Wireless Association, said his organization supports “state legislative remedies to solve this issue. But simply passing a law will not change behavior. We also need to educate new and experienced drivers on the dangers of taking their eyes off the road and hands off the wheel.”

The Governors Highway Safety Association, which represents state highway safety agencies, said that though texting and driving is dangerous, it does not support a ban because it would be difficult to enforce.

“Highway safety laws are only effective if they can be enforced and if the public believes they will be ticketed for not Complying. To date, that has not been the case with many cell phone restrictions,” said Vernon Betkey, the group’s chairman.

The proposal follows studies showing the dangers of operating
handheld devices while driving.

In a study on texting while driving dangers released this week, the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute found that when drivers of heavy trucks texted, their collision risk was 23 times greater than when not texting. Dialing a cell phone and using or reaching for an electronic device increased risk of collision about six times in cars and trucks. The researchers said the risks of texting generally applied to all drivers, not just truckers.

Lawmakers also cited a report by Car and Driver magazine that suggested texting and driving is more dangerous than drunken driving.

Texting has grown from about 10 billion Messages a month in December 2005 to more than 110 billion in December 2008, said CTIA, the cell phone industry’s trade group.

The legislation would require states to ban texting or e-mailing while operating a moving vehicle or lose 25 percent of their annual federal highway funding. It would be patterned after the way Congress required states to adopt a national drunken driving ban.

Texas No. 1 in cutting teen traffic deaths

Last Updated on July 31st, 2017

Texas leads the nation in the decline in fatal crashes involving teen drivers. Fatalities involving 16 to 19-year-old drivers fell 33 percent from 2002 to 2007, more than double the national rate of decline,
according to a study released Monday.

Driving experts attribute the decrease to the rigorous multistep program Texas teens must endure to get a driver’s license, along with a push for peer-to-peer education programs high schools, according to the study by the Texas Transportation Institute at Texas A&M University.

Officials said driving-related deaths m 2007 were the No. 1 killer of Texas teens.

More than 300 Texas high schools have peer-to-peer education programs, which help teens talk to one another about the dangers of unsafe driving behaviors such as texting while driving, speeding and not wearing seat belts.

Nationwide, more than 5,000 16- to 19-year-olds die in car crashes each year. In 2007, the most recent year for which statewide data were available, 419 teens died in crashes.

The transportation institute study, funded by the Texas Department of Transportation and State Farm Insurance, compared teen fatality rates in Texas with other states that kept at least five years of graduated driver’s license data. Graduated driver’s license laws restrict new drivers but offer more freedom as they grow older and typically include a permit stage followed by a provisional license. In Texas, the graduated driver’s license law, passed in 2001, limits the time of day young drivers can be on the road. It also bans them from using cell phones while driving.

Texas is among 33 states to earn a rating of good, the highest offered by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety for graduated license programs. Ten states were rated fair, seven marginal and none poor, the-lowest.

In 1995 Texas dropped the road test as a requirement for getting a license; studies show teen auto fatalities increased soon afterward. But fatalities started to fall in 2002 once Texas brought peer-to-peer Safe driving programs into highschools. More than 250,000 Texas students participated in the Teens in the Driver Seat program in the 2008-09 school year.

The program receives about $900,000 from the state and $100,000 from State Farm. Officials say they would need several times that amount to reach their goal of expanding the program to all Texas high schools.