Maryland New Resident Guide

Welcome to Maryland! As a new driver to this state you will need to be aware of our unique traffic laws and regulations. Here's what you need to keep in mind while driving in Maryland. Some of these rules may be the same as what you're already used to, but others will be drastically different!

Licensing and Residency Requirements

  • A new resident holding a valid out-of-state driver's license or a license expired for less than one year must obtain a Maryland license within 60 days.
  • As a new resident of Maryland you must register your vehicle within 60 days of moving to Maryland.
  • If drivers change their name and/or Maryland address, Maryland law requires them to notify the MVA within 30 days.

Graduated Licensing Program

Learner's Permit


  • Must be 15 and 9 months;
  • Must pass vision and knowledge tests;
  • If under 16, must provide a completed Learner's Permit School Attendance Certification form.

Privileges and Restrictions

  • Must be accompanied by a qualified supervising driver who is 21 years or older and has held a license for a minimum of 3 years. The person must be seated beside the new driver at all times, with no other front seat occupants.
  • May not use wireless communication devices, including hands free devices, while operating a motor vehicle, except for a 911 emergency call.

Provisional License


  • Must have held permit for at least 9 months with no moving violations;
  • Must be at least 16 and 6 months;
  • Must have completed driver education course, including 30 hours in-class education and 6 hours of behind the wheel instruction;
  • Must have accumulated at least 60 hours, 10 of which must be at night, of parental/guardian certified driving before being eligible for a provisional license;
  • Must pass behind the wheel skills test.

Privileges and Restrictions

  • May not drive unsupervised between midnight and 5 AM unless for school, sports, job, or volunteer work;
  • For first 5 months of this stage, teens are prohibited from transporting passengers under the age of 18, except immediate family;
  • Everyone in vehicle must be properly restrained by a seat belt;
  • May not use wireless communication devices, including hands free devices, while operating a motor vehicle, except for a 911 emergency call.

Unrestricted License


  • Must be 18 years of age.

Violation Point Counts

The amount of points that go against your driver's license for specific types of violations.

Example Violations and Their Point Values:

Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs12 Points
Driving while impaired by alcohol or drugs12 Points
Unlawful use of your driver's license12 Points
Loaning or borrowing a driver's license12 Points
Speeding (9 miles per hour or less)1 Point
Speeding (10 MPH and over)2 Points
Speeding (30 MPH and over)5 Points
Driving without a license5 Points
Speed contests (AKA Racing)5 Points
Driving alone with a permit5 Points
Driving without proof of insurance5 Points
Reckless driving6 Points
Driving with a suspended license3 Points
Failure to stop at a red light2 Points
Failure to stop for a school bus2 Points
Improper turn1 Point
Clicking off your lights to evade identification8 Points
Failure to yield1 Point

How Long Points Stay on Record

Points remain on your driver record until they are officially expunged by the MVA. However, after 2 years from the violation date, the points are no longer considered "current" points.

The MVA will automatically expunge your driver record 3 years after your conviction, if the following criteria are met:

  • You have not been convicted of another moving violation or criminal offense involving a motor vehicle during the previous 3 years; and,
  • Your driver's license has never been suspended or revoked; and,
  • You have never been convicted of, or been granted probation before judgment (PBJ) for
  • Failing to remain at the scene of an accident resulting in bodily injury or death; or,
  • Driving while intoxicated, driving under the influence, or driving impaired; or,
  • A violation that is identical to or substantially similar to those listed above.
  • 3 to 4 points - The MVA will send you a warning letter.
  • 5 to 7 points - The MVA will require you to enroll in a Driver Improvement Program (DIP).
  • 8 to 11 points - The MVA will send you a notice of suspension.
  • 12 or more points - The MVA will send you a notice of revocation.

Insurance Requirements

Maryland law requires that all motor vehicles registered in Maryland be insured by a company licensed in Maryland and carry coverage of:

  • $30,000 for bodily injury per person,
  • $60,000 for bodily injury for two or more people, and
  • $15,000 for property damage.

Headlight Laws

You must dim your headlights from high to low beam when you are within 500 feet of an oncoming vehicle or within 300 feet of a vehicle traveling ahead of you.

You must use your headlights:

  • Anytime there is not enough light to clearly see at least 1,000 feet ahead of your vehicle;
  • When you are using your windshield wipers in inclement weather.

There is no specific law allowing or prohibiting headlight flashing.

Implied Consent Laws


  • Not more than 2 months and/or not more than $500.


  • First refusal- Suspension 120 days.
  • Second or subsequent refusal - Suspension 1 year.

DUI Penalties

Driving While Impaired

First offense

  • Up to 2 months imprisonment
  • Up to $500 fine
  • 6 months ignition interlock

Subsequent offense

  • 5 days - 1 year imprisonment
  • Up to $500 fine
  • License suspension 1 year
  • 1 - 3 years ignition interlock

Driving While Under the Influence of Alcohol .08 or Over

First offense

  • Up to 1 year imprisonment
  • Up to $1,000 fine
  • Up to 60 days license suspension
  • 6 months ignition interlock

Second offense

  • Up to 2 years imprisonment
  • Up to $2,000 fine
  • Up to 120 days license suspension
  • 1 year ignition interlock

Third or subsequent offense

  • Up to 3 years imprisonment
  • Up to $3,000 fine
  • Up to 2 years license revocation
  • 3 years ignition interlock

Child Endangerment (transporting a minor under 18)

Driving while impaired and transporting a minor:

  • First offense
    • Up to 6 months imprisonment
    • Up to $1,000 fine
  • Second or subsequent offense
    • Up to 1 year imprisonment
    • Up to $2,000 fine

Driving under the influence and transporting a minor:

  • First offense
    • Up to 2 years imprisonment
    • Up to $2,000 fine
  • Second offense
    • Up to 3 years imprisonment
    • Up to $3,000 fine
  • Third offense
    • Up to 4 years imprisonment
    • Up to $4,000 fine

Alcohol Education and Treatment

Alcohol education/treatment is required as a condition of probation. Any offender may be required to attend a driver improvement or an alcohol education program as a condition of reinstatement of their driving privilege.

Open Container Law

The Open Container Law prohibits possession of an open alcoholic beverage container in the passenger area of any motor vehicle, by any occupant of the vehicle, on any public highway or right of way, whether or not the vehicle is in motion.

Red Light Violation Fines

  • Traditional enforcement: $500 maximum fine/2 points
  • Auto enforcement: $100 maximum civil penalty, no points or record; not a moving violation; may not be used by insurers

Construction Zone Penalties

Speeding violations are subject to an enhanced fine of up to $1,000, whether or not workers are present.

Turn Signal Information

Signal your intention to turn or change lanes at least 100 feet in advance.

Hazard Light Information

Hazard light use is permitted for the purpose of warning other drivers of the presence of a vehicular traffic hazard requiring the exercise of unusual care in approaching, overtaking or passing.

Funeral Procession Right-of-Way Laws

The law allows anyone in a procession to pass through a red light as long as the first vehicle in the procession went through it while it was still green. This privilege is accorded only if a vehicle's headlights are on. While the procession goes through the red signal, any other vehicle with a green light can enter the intersection only if it will not cross the procession's path.

School Bus Laws


  • Vehicles are required to stop unless on the opposite side of a divided highway.
  • Vehicles must stop at least 20 feet from the school bus.


  • Failure to stop and remain stopped when required will result in a fine of up to $1,000, and 3 points assessed against the driver's record.

Bicyclist Passing Distance

A 3-foot minimum passing distance is required.

Motorcycle Laws


  • A Class M license authorizes the licensee to drive motorcycles, but an applicant must be age 16 years 3 months before obtaining a provisional license. The same application procedures for a motor vehicle apply to a motorcycle application.
  • An applicant under the age of 18 must complete a driver education and a motorcycle safety course.

Protective Gear

  • An individual may not operate or ride on a motorcycle unless the individual is wearing protective headgear.
  • An individual may not operate or ride on a motorcycle unless the individual is wearing protective eye gear, or the motorcycle is equipped with a windscreen.
  • All face shields and protective eye gear must allow the wearer an angle of vision of not less than 105 degrees.


  • Daytime use of headlight not required.

Sharing the Road

  • Lane splitting is not authorized.
  • Two motorcycles may travel side-by-side in a single lane.

Using the Shoulder to Pass

You may not drive off the roadway to pass on the right.

Passing Laws

Do Not Pass:

  • When approaching or upon a hill or curve;
  • When approaching within 100 feet of or traversing any intersection or railroad grade crossing;
  • When approaching within 100 feet of any bridge, viaduct, or tunnel.

When Being Passed:

  • Give way to the right in favor of the overtaking vehicle;
  • Do not increase the speed of your vehicle until completely passed by the overtaking vehicle.

Speed Limits

  • 65 mph is the maximum speed limit that can be established on any highway;
  • 55 mph on highways that are not interstate highways or expressways;
  • 50 mph on undivided highways except as noted below;
  • 35 mph on divided highways in residential districts;
  • 30 mph on highways in business districts or on undivided highways in residential districts;
  • 15 mph in alleys in Baltimore County.

Safety Belt and Child Safety Seat Laws

Safety Belts

  • Occupants 16 years and older must wear safety belts.
  • Police may not stop vehicles solely for a belt law violation if the occupant not wearing a safety belt is in the rear seat. Police may stop vehicles for all other belt law violations.
  • The fine for a first offense is $50.

Child Seats

  • Children 7 years and younger or less than 57 inches must be in a child seat.
  • Children 8 through 15 years and children who are at least 57 inches tall must be restrained, and may use an adult safety belt.
  • Police may stop vehicles solely for child seat law violations.
  • The fine for a first offense is $50.

Emergency Vehicle Laws

Move Over

  • When you see any of these vehicles displaying flashing lights while stopped on or adjacent to the roadway:
    • Law enforcement
    • Fire and rescue vehicles
    • Ambulances
    • Oil or hazardous material cleanup vehicles
  • You must do the following:
    • Make a lane change into an available lane not immediately adjacent to the emergency vehicle with due regard for safety and traffic conditions
    • If you are unable to make a lane change, slow to a reasonable and prudent speed that is safe for existing weather, road, and vehicular or pedestrian traffic conditions


  • Do not follow within 500 feet of any fire apparatus traveling in response to a fire alarm, or drive or park within 300 feet of any fire apparatus stopped in response to a fire alarm.

Collision Procedures

  • Stop at the scene or as close as possible without obstructing traffic more than necessary, and remain at the scene until all requirements are fulfilled
  • Provide assistance to any injured person, including transporting them or making arrangements for transportation to a hospital or doctor, if necessary or requested.
  • You must provide the following information to any other person involved in the accident, or any police officer at the scene of the crash:
    • Driver's name and address
    • Vehicle registration number
    • Show driver's license upon request
    • Name, contact information, and policy number for insurance carrier, or evidence of self-insurance
  • If a police officer is not present, and no other people involved in the accident are in a condition to receive the information you are required to give, you must report the accident to the nearest police authority.
  • Unattended vehicle or property
    • If you have collided with a vehicle or other property that is unattended, locate and notify the operator or owner of the name and address of the driver and owner, and the registration number of the vehicle. You must also provide the name, contact information, and policy number for your insurance carrier, or evidence of self-insurance.
    • If you are unable to do so, leave a written notice providing this information and a statement of the circumstances.
  • Report crash
    • If the crash resulted in injury or death, the driver of each vehicle involved must make a written report within 15 days, and must file evidence of liability insurance.
    • If the driver is unable to do so, the owner of the vehicle may be required to submit the report and evidence of liability insurance.
    • If the accident has been investigated by a police officer, a written accident report is not required.