Although Maryland’s Graduated Driver Licensing System has been in effect for over a decade, some new laws were established in 2009 that changed some of the rules. This web page takes the new laws into consideration to provide the most up-to-date advice possible. Generally, there are three components of the Graduated Driver License Program-the learner’s permit, the provisional license, and the unrestricted license.
Minors who are at least 15 years, nine months old can apply for the learner’s permit, which is the first component of the Graduated Driver License Program. In order to be given a permit, all minors must pass knowledge and vision tests, have parental consent, and provide correct documentation.
Regarding documentation, a birth certificate, social security card, and a Maryland vehicle registration card will be acceptable. There are a number of other types of documentation that will qualify Maryland residents for a learner’s permit, and these can be found on the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration website.
After at least nine months with a learner’s permit, new drivers become eligible for a provisional license. Before anyone can apply, they will need to complete a Driver’s Education Course and at least 60 hours of driving under the supervision of an adult, licensed driver. Of these 60 hours, 10 hours of training must be completed at night. New drivers must bring a written record of their driving practice when they apply for a provisional license. Upon arrival at the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration’s local office, drivers will be administered a road test to certify their driving expertise. The signature of a parent or guardian will be required at this stage, as well.
A provisional license allows minors to drive unsupervised, but there are some restrictions to consider. If any of these restrictions are violated during the provisional period, the license will be suspended. First, minors with provisional licenses cannot drive between the hours of midnight and 5 a.m., unless for sports, job, school, or other work-related reasons.
For the first 151 days of the provisional period, other passengers under the age of 18 are not permitted in the vehicle except when a licensed adult is present. Once 151 days have elapsed after the provisional license is issued, however, drivers can transport other passengers who are minors. The provisional license period lasts at least 18 months, and this period can be extended if any of these restrictions or any driving laws are violated.
Maryland is also beginning to pay more attention to cell phones in vehicles. It is now against the law for provisional drivers to use cell phones before they are 18 years old. Texting while driving is always against the law.
If a minor has a provisional license for 18 months in a row, without a violation on record, he or she becomes eligible for an unrestricted license. Only drivers over 18 years old qualify for an unrestricted license.
Resources on Tests for the Learner’s Permit and Provisional License
The knowledge and road tests cover material from the Maryland Driver’s Manual. The Maryland Driver’s Manual is posted on the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration website, as the guide to you Driver’s License, and a separate component for driving rules. There is also an audio version for convenience.