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Bonilla Law
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Bonilla Law Firm PLLC - Accident & Injury Lawyers
Bonilla Law Firm PLLC - Accident & Injury Lawyers

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⚠️TEXAS TRAFFIC SHOCK⚠️ TEXAS LEADS NATION IN FATAL CRASHES & DRUNK DRIVING DEATHS

AUSTIN, Texas (October 4, 2018)- According to new data released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in 2017 Texas led the nation in BOTH traffic fatalities (3,722 fatalities) and alcohol impaired driving fatalities (1,468 alcohol-related fatalities.) As a percentage of total fatalities, 39% of Texas traffic fatalities involved an alcohol-impaired-driving death. This means in 2017, nearly 2 out of 5 traffic fatalities in Texas involved alcohol.

There is a silver lining- the NHTSA data shows that both total traffic fatalities and alcohol-impaired-driving fatalities DECREASED slightly in 2017 compared to 2016. Texas had 75 fewer total traffic fatalities and 10 fewer alcohol fatalities in 2017.

Unfortunately, NHTSA's October 2018 research note included several situations which showed an INCREASE in traffic fatalities in 2017 compared to 2016, such as:

* SUV occupants (3.0% increase)
* Tractor trailers (5.8% increase)
* Single-unit straight trucks (18.7% increase)

Overall, while vehicle safety improvements and increased seat belt use have kept traffic fatalities trending lower over the past 40 years, two exceptions emerge: Large Truck Wrecks & Elderly Driving Wrecks (65+).

🚛Large Truck Wrecks: Occupants in other vehicles involved in large-truck crashes had 280 more fatalities, an 8.8-percent increase from 2016.

😥Elderly Drivers (65+): Over the last 10 years (2008-2017), elderly drivers (65+) involved in fatal crashes INCREASED by 29.1%.

What do you think? Why does Texas lead the nation in Fatal Crashes & Drunk Driving Deaths?
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🚨TEENAGE TRUCK DRIVERS🚨 The 'New' American Trucker?🚛🚛🚛

AUSTIN, Texas (September 12, 2018)- The median age of an American truck driver is 49 years old, compared to 42 for all U.S. workers. The higher age of truck drivers is one of the reasons the American Trucking Associations [ATA] estimates that in 2017 the trucking industry was short more than 50,000 drivers. By 2026, if current trends hold, the ATA estimates this shortage could increase to 174,000 truck drivers.

In a recent CNBC Interview, ATA President Chris Spear said he was ‘pretty sure’ that ‘we can train them [18 year old truck drivers] to cross state lines in a Class A commercial truck.’ For this reason, the ATA supports the DRIVE-Safe Act (H.R. 5358) pending in Congress.

Under the proposed legislation, an 18 year old teenager with a valid CDL need only to complete a quick apprenticeship program to drive an 80,000 pound truck across state lines and into the stream of interstate commerce.

“Lowering the required age of an interstate truck driver offers a limited solution that has huge consequences for the safety of every person driving on the road,” noted Austin personal injury attorney Brad Bonilla. “In general, younger drivers are more likely to crash and more likely to be involved in serious crashes,” continued Bonilla.

Data from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety [IIHS] confirms that ‘the rate of fatal passenger vehicle crash involvements per 100 million miles traveled in 2008 was highest at ages 16-19 for male drivers.’

“What the ATA is proposing - to take the HIGHEST RISK age group that includes 18 & 19 year old male drivers and allow them to drive commercial trucks weighing 15-20 times more than an average passenger vehicle- is dangerous and, if enacted, will put everyone else on the road in harm’s way,” concluded Bonilla.

WHAT DO YOU THINK?

ATA 2017 Press Release on Truck Driver Shortage

https://www.trucking.org/…/New%20Report%20Says-National-Sho…

H.R. 5358 – DRIVE- Safe Act

https://www.congress.gov/…/115th-congr…/house-bill/5358/text

About the Bonilla Law Firm

The Bonilla Law Firm is a Plaintiff's personal injury law firm located in Austin, Texas. Our firm has handled some of the worst wrongful death and serious injury cases involving 18 wheelers and large trucks in the Austin & Central Texas area. We represent victims of 18 wheeler collisions, commercial vehicle & large truck wrecks, as well as victims of serious injury car wrecks.

Our firm regularly investigates 18 wheeler & commercial vehicle wrecks and coordinates accident reconstruction, black box downloads and vehicle inspections on all serious injury and wrongful death CMV cases.

We always offer free consultations on all car wreck cases. Questions? Feel free to ask!
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⚠️ LABOR DAY 2018 ⚠️: TEXAS DPS ANNOUNCES INCREASED TRAFFIC ENFORCEMENT🚔 🚔 🚔

AUSTIN, Texas (August 29, 2018)- According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, TWO of the TEN DEADLIEST DAYS on our nation’s roads occur at the start of September. September 1st and 2nd rounded out the 9th and 10th DEADLIEST DAY in the IIHS study of traffic data from 2010-2014, with an average 107 crash deaths per day. The National Safety Council estimates that 420 people may die on U.S. roads this Labor Day Holiday, meaning the start of September is again expected to be DANGEROUS and DEADLY on our nation’s roads.

Today, the Texas Department of Public Safety announced they will be joining other law enforcement efforts across the state to increase traffic enforcement during the Labor Day 2018 holiday weekend. The Texas DPS initiative runs from Friday August 31st through Monday September 3rd and will target drivers who violate traffic laws, including: impaired drivers, speeders and seat belt violations. In Central Texas, the Austin Police Department previously announced an extended Labor Day no refusal initiative running through September 3, 2018.

In Texas, the DPS traffic enforcement efforts during the Labor Day holiday period seem to be working. TxDOT statistics from 2017 show that during the 78-hour Labor Day holiday period a total of 35 fatal crashes caused 39 fatalities on Texas roads. In fact, crash fatalities during Labor Day have trended down since at least 2010, when TxDOT statistics show 42 fatal crashes caused 44 fatalities.

DPS director Steven McCraw offers the following reminder to Texas drivers this Labor Day holiday: “We are urging all drivers to do their part to keep our roads safe by simply obeying Texas traffic laws and diving courteously.”

For the Texas DPS Labor Day Press Release (which includes helpful road safety tips) please click below:

https://www.dps.texas.gov/…/media_and_communi…/pr/2018/0829a

About the Bonilla Law Firm

The Bonilla Law Firm is a Plaintiff’s personal injury law firm located in Austin, Texas. Our firm regularly represents clients injured in car wrecks involving an 18-wheeler, large truck or commercial vehicle, distracted driver, drunk driver, reckless driver, and many other types of serious injury collisions.

We always offer a free case review for anyone involved in a car wreck. Questions? Feel free to ask!
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⚠️🛴⚠️ DOCKLESS SCOOTER DANGER

Users of ‘Bird’ & ‘Lime’ Scooters Waive Their Legal Rights!

AUSTIN, Texas (August 9, 2018)- Electric scooters are taking over the streets and sidewalks of downtown Austin! While the ultimate impact of the electric scooter craze remains uncertain, community leaders are quickly trying to manage the divide between the drivers, pedestrians and bicyclists who view the scooters as a nuisance and the tourists, techies and hipsters who revel at the chance to experience an innovative urban transportation option.

As Austin wrestles with opposing views of this new trend, a crash involving life-threatening injuries this past week highlights the questions surrounding scooter safety and legal liability. According to Austin personal injury attorney Brad Bonilla, users of electric scooters may have waived most of their rights to sue the companies that lease the scooters- like Bird and Lime- if an injury occurs.

Bonilla remarked, “I think the agreement that users must accept before riding a scooter is unfair. These companies know that many of their customers are inexperienced operators, they also know that a lack of experience using their products can lead to serious injuries. People agree to the terms without thinking about the consequences of what happens if you get hurt.”

Among the items that users of electric scooters agree to before using the scooters:

• You are a competent electric scooter operator;
• You will not allow a minor (under 18 for Bird; under 16 for Lime) to operate the electric scooter;
• You will not use a cell phone while operating an electric scooter;
• You will not carry a large bag that interferes with the safe operation of the electric scooter;
• You will not use the electric scooter while intoxicated;
• You assume all responsibilities for injuries while using the electric scooter; &
• You MUST always wear a helmet;

“In many situations, if a rider is injured while using an electric scooter, the company will not be liable,” Bonilla said. He continued, “There are a few instances where an injured scooter operator may still have the right to sue the scooter company, such as in the instance of a defective scooter or if the facts of a case can support a claim for ‘Gross Negligence’.”

“If someone is injured while using an electric scooter, your rights against the scooter owner will depend on whether the cause of the crash was specifically disclaimed in the user agreement,” noted Bonilla. Bonilla stressed that he knows of no lawsuit filed in Travis County against a scooter company, although he suspects its just a matter of time before one is filed. However, even if a lawsuit is filed, it will still take time for the case to move through the court system, which means it may be quite some time before the current scooter rental system changes.

WHAT TO KNOW

1) If the user of an electric scooter is injured due to the negligence of a person driving a car, you can take legal action against the at-fault driver of the car;

2) Bicyclists and Pedestrians injured by a person operating an electric scooter have the right to take legal action against the person operating the electric scooter. If the person using the scooter has homeowners or renters insurance, their liability will be covered by that insurance;

3) Lime’s printed user agreement is 46 pages and Bird’s is 19 pages. In most (but not all) instances, users of an electric scooter involved in a single person accident will not be able to sue the company that owns the dockless scooter, because the user has waived their right to sue.

For the Lime user agreement, click here:

https://www.li.me/user-agreement

For the Bird user agreement, click here:

https://www.bird.co/agreement

About the Bonilla Law Firm:

The Bonilla Law Firm is a Plaintiff’s personal injury law firm located in Austin, Texas. Our firm regularly represents clients involved in serious injury motor vehicle collisions, including Distracted Driving wrecks, 18-wheeler wrecks, company vehicle wrecks, large truck wrecks, drunk driving wrecks, bicycle wrecks and serious injury car wrecks.

We always offer free consultations on any personal injury case. Questions? Feel free to ask!
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CAPITAL METRO SILENT: Are They Really SERIOUS About Safety?

AUSTIN, Texas (August 6, 2018)- Just yesterday, Capital Metro was quick to release video of the catastrophic 7/27 collision between two buses to local Austin news outlets. Although Capital Metro didn't detail the reason for the unusual & immediate release of the crash footage, the presumption is that the video was released to dispel the thought that this wreck involved a distracted driver.

When pressed by KTBC Fox 7's reporter Casey Claiborne, "Cap Metro's Vice President of Bus Operations Dottie Watkins couldn't speak in detail about the accident..."

The video footage released by Cap Metro CLEARLY shows the Mechanic driving the bus was drifting towards the solid white fog line on the road- ALMOST as if he dozed off for a moment. While the driver DID ADMIT to being "Zoned Out" before the crash, MANY questions remain.

One of the most significant questions: what type of driver qualification, screening and training did a MECHANIC (ie- not a regular bus driver) have before he was entrusted with a bus out on the road, PUTTING LIVES AT RISK?

We also question why, when Capital Metro was so QUICK to dispel the notion this wasn't a DISTRACTED driving wreck, they have yet to advise us of the Mechanic's employment history. More importantly, did the Mechanic have a PRIOR EPISODE(S) OF 'ZONING OUT?' This could include FATIGUE and/or FALLING ASLEEP or DOZING OFF.

Questions? Feel free to Ask!
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SUSPECTED DISTRACTED DRIVER ARRESTED, FACES JAIL

AUSTIN, Texas (July 23, 2018)- In what amounts to one of the first prosecutions involving the potential for jail under Texas’ statewide ‘No Texting & Driving’ law, a Central Texas woman faces up to a YEAR IN JAIL after a June 2018 wreck in Travis County. According to the Travis County arrest affidavit, the accused driver- identified by us only by her first name 'Melissa'- drifted off the road, where she struck and critically injured a bicyclist.

The DPS trooper investigating the wreck located a long text message received by Melissa immediately before the collision. Details in the arrest affidavit state that Melissa admitted to the officer “when her cellphone notifies her of a message, she usually grabs it and reads it, without even thinking.” After her arrest, Melissa was released on bond…but with a unique condition: “No use of cell phone in car for any reason.”

In a March 29, 2018 news release, AAA identified that Distracted Driving tops drivers’ list of dangers on the road. A whopping 88% of drivers surveyed believe distracted driving is on the rise; this far surpasses other risky behaviors like Aggressive driving (68%), Drugged Driving (55%) and Drunk Driving (43%). The AAA report also notes that the Distracted Driving problem is getting worse! Since 2013, the number of drivers who report using a phone while driving has INCREASED by 46%!

Austin Personal Injury Attorney Brad Bonilla represents the victim in this Distracted Driving wreck. According to Bonilla, even with a statewide Texting & Driving ban, Distracted Driving has shown no signs of slowing down. “In this case, the DPS trooper did an EXCEPTIONAL job. Unfortunately, in most serious car wrecks, there’s no uniform standard for securing evidence to prove that a driver was distracted. Until law enforcement and prosecutors develop a standard practice for prosecuting distracted driving cases, its likely that we’ll see cases prosecuted only where individual officers go ‘above and beyond,’ remarked Bonilla.”

What do you think? Should more Distracted Drivers face jail after serious injury car wrecks?

The AAA news release about Distraction topping list of dangerous driving behaviors can be found below:

https://newsroom.aaa.com/…/distraction-tops-drivers-list-g…/

Section 545.4251 of the Texas Transportation Code (which outlaws Texting & Driving) can be viewed here:

https://statutes.capitol.texas.gov/Docs/TN/htm/TN.545.htm

About the Bonilla Law Firm:

The Bonilla Law Firm is a Plaintiff’s personal injury law firm located in Austin, Texas. Our firm regularly represents clients involved in serious injury motor vehicle collisions, including Distracted Driving wrecks, 18 wheeler wrecks, company vehicle wrecks, large truck wrecks, drunk driving wrecks, and serious injury car wrecks.

We always offer free consultations on any personal injury case. Questions? Feel free to ask!
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DEADLIEST DAYS FOR SUMMER DRIVING- JULY / AUGUST

AUSTIN, Texas (July 16, 2018)- This past week marked the halfway point of AAA’s ‘100 Deadliest Days’ period between Memorial Day and Labor Day. If you plan on taking a road trip this summer, don’t let your guard down just yet- we’ve just entered the MOST DANGEROUS & DEADLIEST days of summer driving!

According to a 2017 report by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, JULY and AUGUST were the DEADLIEST months on our nation’s road, with an average daily death toll of 116. The IIHS report analyzed federal fatal crash data from 1998 to 2014. Some highlights from the report included:

* Weekends were deadlier than weekdays;
* The highest number of deaths occurred between 3 pm and 7 pm;
* An average of 139 deaths occurred on Saturdays, compared with 89 on Tuesdays;

In a separate report from 2017, the IIHS also correlated a strong economy to a higher driver death rate. The IIHS notes: “a stronger economy has led drivers to take to the road more often and in more dangerous ways.” Part of the reason is that discretionary driving- going to dinner or on vacation- increases in a stronger economy. Simply put, falling unemployment means rising crash deaths because people tend to drive more when the economy is good.

“This summer has the potential to be a ‘PERFECT STORM’ for fatal and serious injury car wrecks in Texas”, commented attorney Brad Bonilla. “Many inexperienced drivers are on the road, the economy is strong, and people are driving more”, continued Bonilla. “Our firm has already been retained to represent a family in a fatal car wreck this July and in June we were hired on several serious injury wrecks that involved life-threating injuries”, noted Bonilla.

The Texas Department of Transportation drives home the danger on Texas roads: “At least one person has died on Texas roadways EVERY DAY since Nov. 7, 2000.” TxDOT’s #EndTheStreakTx Public Service Announcement reminds Texans to “stay alert, obey traffic laws and take personal responsibility behind the wheel.”

WHAT DO YOU THINK? Will Texas ‘End the Streak’ in 2018?

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The 2017 IIHS Report on 1998-2014 Crash Data can be found here:

http://www.iihs.org/iihs/sr/statusreport/article/52/3/2

The 2017 IIHS report on Higher Driver Death Rate can be found here:

http://www.iihs.org/…/on-the-road-again-higher-driver-death…

The TxDOT #EndTheStreakTX Public Service Announcement can be found here:

https://www.txdot.gov/inside…/media-center/…/end-streak.html

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About the Bonilla Law Firm

The Bonilla Law Firm is a Plaintiff’s personal injury law firm located in Austin, Texas. Our firm represents victims of all types of car wrecks including: 18 wheeler wrecks, company vehicle and large truck collisions, distracted driving wrecks, drunk driving wrecks and serious injury car wrecks.

We always offer free consultations for anyone injured in a car wreck. Questions? Feel free to ask!
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TEXAS DPS: NEARLY 1 IN 4 COMMERCIAL VEHICLES FAIL 'ROADCHECK 2018' SAFETY INSPECTIONS

AUSTIN, Texas (July 5, 2018)- According to a Texas DPS news release, approximately 24% of commercial motor vehicles inspected from June 5-7 FAILED the inspection. Of the 7,980 vehicles inspected by DPS, 1,975 of the 18-wheelers, buses, large trucks and other CMV vehicles inspected were found to have serious violations and declared Out-of-Service. Texas DPS also noted that 18,178 warnings and 1,258 citations were issued as part of the Commercial Vehicle Enforcement efforts during the Roadcheck 2018 initiative.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) notes that a single inspection can result in an Out-of-Service order for the driver of a commercial vehicle, the vehicle itself, or BOTH. According to Federal Law- 49 USC 521- If, upon inspection, a Commercial Motor Vehicle Operation poses an IMMINENT HAZARD to safety, a vehicle or employee Out-of-Service order shall cease all or part of the employer's commercial motor vehicle operations until such hazard is abated. "Imminent Hazard" means any condition of a vehicle, employee, or commercial motor vehicle operations which substantially increases the likelihood of serious injury or death if not discontinued immediately.

"Many of the worst car wreck cases we see involve Commercial Motor Vehicles", commented Attorney Brad Bonilla. "The average 18 wheeler weighs 40 tons- 80,000 pounds, while most large trucks weigh well in excess of 26,000 pounds. When these large trucks are involved in collisions with passenger vehicles weighing 3, 4, or 5,000 pounds, the results are devastating", continued Bonilla.

Bonilla provided documents on several recent cases, including a vehicle inspection report after a 2017 truck wreck that showed a local Austin trucking company DISABLED part of a truck's anti-lock braking system. In another case, sand interfered with a truck's ability to brake, which caused a 5 car pile-up on highway 290.

"The bottom line is that many small trucking companies skirt safety requirements to save money. This can mean hiring unqualified drivers for less pay, not having driver safety & training programs in place, and sending unsafe vehicles on the roads.", remarked Bonilla. He also issued this warning: "When a trucking company puts profit over safety, that puts your family at risk!"

ABOUT THE BONILLA LAW FIRM

The Bonilla Law Firm is a Plaintiff's personal injury law firm located in Austin, Texas. Our firm has handled some of the worst wrongful death and serious injury cases involving 18 wheelers and large trucks in the Austin & Central Texas area. We regularly represent victims of 18 wheeler collisions, commercial vehicle & large truck wrecks, as well as victims of car wrecks involving distracted drivers, drunk drivers, and serious injuries.

Our firm regularly investigates 18 wheeler & commercial vehicle wrecks and coordinates accident reconstruction, black box downloads and vehicle inspections on all serious injury and wrongful death CMV cases.

We always offer free consultations on all car wreck cases. Questions? Feel free to ask!
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JULY 4TH TRAVEL: Expect RECORD Number of Travelers / Traffic Gridlock

(BEWARE of #TerribleTuesday!)

AUSTIN, Texas (June 27, 2018)- AAA predicts that a record-breaking 46.9 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more away from home this Independence Day holiday, the highest number since AAA started tracking Fourth of July travel 18 years ago. Travel times in the most congested cities in the U.S. could be twice as long as the normal trip, according to transportation analytics company INRIX. With the majority of travelers- 39.7 million- predicted to drive to their destinations, Tuesday, July 3rd is expected to be the BUSIEST travel day. #TerribleTuesday

The Texas Department of Public Safety issued a June 21, 2018 News Release urging Texans to take safety precautions this summer- ESPECIALLY when traveling by car. According to the release "As road travel increases this summer, DPS reminds everyone to stay vigilant and practice safe driving habits." Some of the tips the DPS recommends for road travel are:

* Slow Down
* Eliminate Distractions while driving, including the use of mobile devices
* Buck up everyone in the vehicle; &
* Don't drive fatigued

With many people focused on traveling to see friends and family this Fourth of July, please leave plenty of travel time to get to your travel destination. Drive safe and have a Happy & Safe Fourth of July!

Click Below for the Full Texas DPS Press Release:

https://www.dps.texas.gov/…/media_and_communi…/pr/2018/0621a

About The Bonilla Law Firm

The Bonilla Law Firm is a Plaintiff's Personal Injury Law Firm based in Austin, Texas. Our firm represents car wreck victims, including those involved in 18 wheeler wrecks, large truck and company vehicle wrecks, distracted driving wrecks, drunk driving wrecks and all serious injury car wrecks.

We always offer free consultations for anyone involved in a car wreck. Questions? Feel free to ask!
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