Maryland Driving Laws

Man in a Car Texting While DrivingMan in a Car Texting While Driving

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 Driving Laws for New Drivers: Licences and Permits

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

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.

Provisional License

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.

Driver's License

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.

New Maryland Driving Laws

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.

The Right of Way

In Maryland, here are the rules surrounding the right of way include:

  • If you are trying to turn left at an intersection, you must give right of way to all opposing traffic.
  • At an intersection, the vehicles already at the intersection have the right of way, including motorcycles, bicycles, and pedestrians. If in doubt, the vehicle to your right has the right of way.
  • If you turn right on a red signal, other vehicles and pedestrians have the right of way.
  • When coming out of a driveway or private road, yield to the vehicle on the public road.

Medical Conditions That Need to Be Reported

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:

  • Seizure
  • Epilepsy
  • Low sugar levels requiring someone's assistance
  • Stroke
  • History of traumatic brain injury (TBI)
  • A leg, hand, or arm loss
  • An eye condition where either of the eyes has a visual acuity less than 20/70, or a binocular field of vision of at least 110 degrees
  • Drug and alcohol use problem

Seat Belts and Safety Seats Regulations

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.

Driving Laws in Maryland: General Rules

The driving laws in Maryland are similar to major rules around the world. Some of the laws include:

  • Drivers must drive vehicles with insurance. Driving without insurance attracts a fee of $150 in the first month after the insurance expires and $7 every day after.
  • Distracted driving is prohibited; however, you can use a hands-free device.
  • All drivers must turn on their lights when driving in the rain.
  • All vehicles must slow down and stop for pedestrians as they approach zebra crossings. Motorists must merge cautiously and yield traffic to those who have the right of way, must not drive aggressively and avoid road rage.

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.

Frequently Asked Questions

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.

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