Maryland Rating: Caution

Maryland needs improvement because of gaps in Advocates’ recommended optimal laws, as reported in the 2019 Roadmap Report.

Highway Safety Laws Needed

  • Primary Enforcement Seatbelt Law (Rear)
  • Rear Facing Through Age 2 Law
GDL – Minimum Age 16 for Learner’s Permit
  • GDL – Stronger Nighttime Restriction
  • GDL – Stronger Passenger Restriction
  • GDL- Age 18 for Unrestricted License

Current Optimal Highway Safety Laws

  • Primary Enforcement Seat Belt Law (Front)
  • All-Rider Motorcycle Helmet Law
Booster Seat Law
  • GDL – 6-Month Holding Period Provision
  • GDL – Supervised Driving Provision
  • GDL – Cell Phone Restriction
  • Child Endangerment Law
  • Open Container Law
  • All-Driver Text Messaging Restriction
  • All Offender IID Law

*States are credited with having laws only if their laws meet Advocates’ optimal criteria

Hot Now: Graduated Driver Licensing Laws

In 2017, 57 people were killed in crashes involving young drivers in Maryland.

The current GDL law in Maryland includes the following components:

  • A three-stage licensing system beginning at age 15 years and 9 months for learner’s permit, age 16 years and 6 months for the intermediate stage, and age 18 for full licensure
  • A mandatory 9 month holding period for the learner’s permit stage
  • A minimum of 60 hours of supervised practice driving during the learner’s permit stage, at least 10 of which must be at night
  • A prohibition on unsupervised nighttime driving between midnight and 5 a.m. during the intermediate stage
  • A passenger restriction prohibiting passengers younger than age 18 for the first 5 months after licensure (secondary enforcement)
  • A prohibition on non-emergency use of hand-held cell phones for all drivers and on hands-free cell phones during the learner’s permit and intermediate stages (secondary enforcement)
  • A prohibition on texting while driving for all drivers.

These changes are needed to improve Maryland’s GDL law and meet optimal GDL provisions:

  • Require age 16 for entry into the learner’s permit stage
  • Strengthen the passenger restriction to prohibit more than one non-familial passenger under the age of 21 unless a licensed driver over age 21 is in the vehicle, for the entire intermediate stage through age 17
  • Strengthen nighttime restrictions for teen drivers

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