October 1, 2009 marked the day of several new beginnings for drivers in the state of Maryland. For starter’s the state’s new texting while driving law went into effect on Oct. 1. The new texting while driving law extends the ban to all drivers, instead of just teens. The new law makes texting while driving a misdemeanor that carries a $500 fine. Next, any teen that applies for a learner permit after Oct. 1 must hold the permit for 9 months before applying for a provisional license, instead of the original 6 month waiting period.
On June 1, 2009, Maryland passed a new law that affects new driver’s license applicants as well. The proof of lawful presence law requires all applicants to show proof of legal residence in the state of Maryland. Applicants must provide two types of proof, and the address on both documents must match the address on the application. The Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration has a long list of acceptable forms of proof – too many to list here, but just a few include: U.S. passport, certificate of citizenship, Maryland vehicle registration card, copy of federal or state income tax return, voter registration card, residential rental contract, or major credit card bill. If you cannot provide proof of lawful presence, you cannot apply for a license or permit in the state.
There are several other issues that may affect your chances of obtaining (or keeping) a Maryland driver’s license. You must follow all Maryland DUI laws, Maryland auto insurance laws, and Maryland teen driving laws in order to obtain or maintain driving privileges. For starters, you will be required to show proof of Maryland auto insurance before you can obtain a driver’s license or permit. Currently, the state of Maryland has the 12th most expensive average auto insurance premium in the nation, thanks to an accident rate that’s at an all-time high. The average annual Maryland auto insurance policy is around $949 per month. By law, it must include the state’s minimum auto liability coverage in the amount of $20,000 per person for bodily injury, $40,000 per accident for bodily injury, and $15,000 per accident for property or 20/40/15.
Maryland DUI laws apply to both adults and teens. No driver shall operate a motor vehicle under the influence, period. The state has a zero tolerance law for teens (a blood alcohol content level (BAC) of 0.02%) and a 0.07% BAC for adults. If you are a teen and you get caught driving under the influence in the state of Maryland, your license or permit will be suspended on the spot. Adult offenders will lose their driving privileges for no less than 45 days and they may end up in jail for up to a year. Fines may total up to $1,000. It is important to note that these stiff penalties are for a first offense.
Teen auto insurance laws are the same as auto insurance laws for adults, and in many ways Maryland DUI laws are the same for teens. No matter what, the offender will lose his driving privileges for a specific period of time. Teens do have a different licensing process than adults, however. Teens in the state of Maryland must pass through the states Graduated Driver Licensing program in order to obtain a full, unrestricted license. The process starts at age 15 with a learner license, and it gradually advances to a restricted licensing phase. Once all requirements of the restricted licensing phase have been met, meaning, the teen driver has not accumulated any traffic violations, he or she will have the opportunity to apply for an unrestricted license.
For more information about Maryland Driving laws, Maryland driving statistics, and more, please visit:
Maryland Department of Public Safety, Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration – http://www.mva.maryland.gov/index.html
AutoInsuranceTips.com – Maryland Auto Insurance
Maryland Insurance Administration – http://www.mdinsurance.state.md.us/sa/jsp/Mia.jsp
United States Census Bureau – http://www.census.gov/