Along with the new year comes dozens of laws that have been enacted and are now officially required. Among some of those laws are ones that will affect students now and in the future.

Over the last few years, texting and driving have gone hand in hand with each other. Fifty-five percent of young adult Americans believe that texting and driving doesn’t affect their driving, and 77 percent of young adults are fairly confident that they won’t crash while they text.

Confidence is one thing, but facts are another.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 18 percent of all fatal car crashes are due to driving while texting. The most recent number of people being killed nationally due to a distracted cell phone driver rose from 3,267 in 2010 to 3,331 in 2011. Within those two years, 800,000 more people were injured in a distracted-driving related accident.

It’s because of those haunting numbers that Oregon has decided to make the consequences for texting and driving more severe. Starting with the new year, fines for texting and driving have almost doubled from $50 to $160, and a judge can add up to $500 to the charge.–237665251.html

According to Eugene Police Department Public Information Officer Melinda McLaughlin, texting and driving is an offense that the Eugene Police are actively searching for. McLaughlin says that in 2013 alone, 954 total citations were handed out for texting and driving.

“It’s more than important for everyone to not be distracted on the road,” Lieutenant for the Oregon State Police Gregg Hastings said. “Receiving a text message takes a driver’s eyes from the road for an average of 4.6 seconds. At 55 mph, it’s like driving the length of Autzen Stadium field blindfolded.”

Another new law in Oregon lets students looking to enter the job market breathe just a bit easier. Starting this year, employers are prohibited to require workers or applicants to provide them access to their social media accounts, including Facebook and Instagram.

Christine Lonigan, the employment manager for the University of Oregon, says that social media shouldn’t be a relevant part of the application process to begin with.

“I’ve been doing hirings for the university for 27 years, and there’s nothing to gain that’s essential or functional from looking at someone’s social accounts,” Lonigan said. “The problem with social media is that you’re also getting an applicant’s race, gender, religion and sexual orientation while you’re looking through their accounts, and all of those things are illegal to consider while hiring someone.”

These laws, among many others, have been put fully into place as of Jan. 1. Some other new laws that have been put into place this year involve everything from who can use a tanning bed to who can get their mug shot removed from websites.

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