Driving in Maryland is similar to driving in many other places in the US. Motorists drive on the right while sitting on the left. They have several rules put in place to ensure the safety of motorists and pedestrians. Failure to abide by these rules attracts penalties such as fines or license withdrawal.
The department of motor vehicles (DMV) is responsible for issuing licenses and permits to drivers in Maryland. They use a graduated licensing system to access their new drivers, giving them the appropriate license or permit.
Maryland uses a graduated licensing system (GLS) for their new drivers. The system allows new drivers to gain experience gradually. After fulfilling the requirements for each stage, the new driver moves to the new level until they finally get their full driver's license. The stages a new driver needs to pass through before becoming a fully-fledged driver include the following:
Learner's Instructional Permit is the first step for new and young drivers aged at least 15 years and 9 months old and is valid for two years. The holder must have at least 60 hours of practice, with 10 cumulative hours being at night. They must practice with a certified driver who is at least 21 years old and has had a valid license for at least three years before moving to the next stage. They must also provide a complete Learner's Permit School Attendance Certification form, a parent or guardian's signature and must pass a vision and knowledge test.
You must be at least 16 years and 6 months old and have had your instructional permit for at least 9 months before being qualified for a provisional license. You must provide your practice skills log documenting the 60 hours of supervised practice driving.
The provisional license allows its holder to drive to important places such as work, an official school activity, an athletic event, a training session, or a volunteer program till they turn 18. The holder can only drive between 12 and 5 am if another certified driver aged 21 and above and has been driving for at least three years is present.
The provisional license automatically becomes a driver's license when its holder turns 18 years old if they do not have any previous violations. The license allows its holder to drive as long as they want, provided they use their seat belts and do not cause any violations.
Maryland has recently added new driving laws to their catalog. Among the new laws added is the "move over" law. Previously in Maryland, a vehicle needed to move over or slow down when approaching a tow truck, emergency, law enforcement, transport and utility vehicles if they had their light on (red, yellow, or amber) or were parked on the highway.
In October 2022, Maryland expanded the law to include hazard warning lights, traffic cones, non-vehicular warning lights, and road flares. You must slow down if you cannot move over when coming close to these. If you keep speeding when you come close to these, it would be regarded as a moving violation.
Other new laws include that children under two years old must be placed in a rear-facing car seat until the child exceeds the height or weight limit. Drivers driving 10 mph less than the maximum speed limit must move as close to the right lane as possible.
In Maryland, here are the rules surrounding the right of way include:
Maryland requires applicants for driver's licenses to report any medical conditions that may endanger them and other road users or make driving more difficult. These medical conditions include:
In Maryland, the law requires every passenger in all seats to have their seat belt on at all times. If a driver gets pulled over, if you or any occupants of the car do not have their belts on, the driver can get a ticket.
The safety seat regulation differs by age. Children must ride in an appropriate child safety seat until they are eight or taller than 4'9". Children less than two years old must be placed in a rear-facing safety seat. The authorities put these features in place to ensure safety in case of an accident.
The driving laws in Maryland are similar to major rules around the world. Some of the laws include:
Be aware that the Maryland Department of Transportation Motor Vehicle Administration(MVA) issues Maryland MVA flags for drivers who have committed a driving or vehicle violation and have not paid the appropriate fines. In such an event, you won’t be able to renew your vehicle registration, transfer the vehicle license plates to another vehicle, obtain a duplicate registration card, or substitute license plates.
1. What are the rules for new drivers in Maryland?
New drivers must not carry passengers less than 18 years old except if they are family members. Non-certified drivers must only drive between 12 and 5 am with a certified driver.
2. Can a 15-year-old drive in Maryland?
The earliest legal age to drive in Maryland is 15 and 9 months old when the person can obtain their Learner's Instructional Permit.
3. What age can you drive alone in Maryland?
You can only drive alone when you turn 18. Before 18, you'll need to have a driver aged 21 or more who has been driving for over three years.
4. What If I Have an Out-of-State License?
A new resident in Maryland can drive with an out-of-state license for 60 days before it becomes invalid. You must surrender your out-of-state license, apply for a Maryland license and pass a vision test.