- Associated Press - Friday, January 1, 2016

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - New laws take effect around the country Friday, but in Utah, only a handful of the hundreds passed by lawmakers in 2015 are among them.

Most of the roughly 500 laws Utah legislators passed last year took effect May 12, a default date under state law that marks 60 days from the end of the legislative session.

Here are highlights of laws taking effect Jan. 1 in Utah:

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DRIVER’S SAFETY TEST

Any new drivers applying for a license will have to take an additional test. The new online traffic safety exam includes questions about driving safety and common causes of fatal crashes. Unlike the written test administered at offices of Utah’s Driver License Division, applicants will take the traffic safety test online at home or a public library. New drivers must get all 40 questions correct in order to get a license but can take the exam as many times as needed until they pass. The online exam can be taken before or after the other written test and the skills test behind the wheel. An online study guide and link to take the test will be available at https://dld.utah.gov.

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CREDIT MONITORING FOR MINORS

Utah lawmakers concerned about identity thieves targeting children passed a law requiring credit monitoring agencies to put security holds on minors or incapacitated adults with legal guardians. Parents or a legal guardian or representative can request the credit security freeze. It will remain in place until a request to remove it is filed by the parent, legal guardian or the minor who turns 18.

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GAS TAX

A gas tax increase takes effect Friday in Utah to help pay for road and bridge repairs. The gas tax law became legally effective last summer, giving officials time to comply with other parts of the law before the tax increase itself was imposed in 2016. The law converts Utah’s cents-per-gallon flat tax rate into a percentage that will adjust with the changing price of gas. The tax will jump by an equivalent of about 5 cents per gallon to start, the first hike in that tax since 1997. The State Tax Commission estimates the increase will generate about $76 million a year.

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