Recent Changes to the Law

Changes in Motor Vehicle Laws

Recent changes in Motor Vehicle Laws are summarized below. Follow the links to learn more about each subject.

Plug-in Electric Drive Vehicles – Reserved Parking Spaces

This bill prohibits stopping, standing, or parking a vehicle in a designated “plug-in electric drive vehicle charging space,” unless that vehicle is a “plug-in electric drive vehicle” that is plugged into charging equipment. The bill establishes signage requirements for such designated vehicle charging spaces and also establishes that a person who violates the bill’s provisions is subject to a civil penalty of $100. The bill takes effect October 1, 2022.

Operation When Approaching Stopped, Standing, or Parked Vehicles

This bill expands the application of the “move over” requirement under the Maryland Vehicle Law to apply to a vehicle on a highway that is displaying hazard warning lights, road flares, or other caution signals, including traffic cones, caution signs, or nonvehicular warning lights. Thus, a driver approaching (from the rear) a vehicle that is stopped, standing, or parked on a highway and displaying an applicable signal must make a lane change or, if the driver is unable to lawfully make a lane change, slow to a reasonable and prudent speed, as specified. A violation is a misdemeanor subject to a maximum fine of $500. The bill takes effect October 1, 2022.

Rear-Facing Child Safety Seats – Requirement

This departmental bill requires a person transporting a child younger than age two in a motor vehicle to secure the child in a rear-facing child safety seat that complies with applicable federal regulations until the child reaches the weight or height limit specified by the manufacturer of the child safety seat. A person who violates the bill’s requirement by securing a child younger than age two in a child safety seat that is not rear-facing is guilty of a misdemeanor and subject to a written warning for a first violation and a fine of $50 for a second or subsequent violation. The Bill takes effect October 1, 2022.

Other Motor Vehicle Laws

Injury or Death of Vulnerable Individual

This bill prohibits an individual from causing the serious physical injury or death of a “vulnerable individual” as a result of the individual operating a motor vehicle in violation of any rule of the road specified in the Maryland Vehicle Law (effective October 1, 2021).

Vehicle Equipment / Safety Glass Replacement Standards

This bill requires the Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA) to adopt regulations establishing standards and requirements for aftermarket safety glass replacement that meet or exceed certain standards (effective October 1, 2021).

Speed Enforcement Cameras

This bill authorizes the use of speed monitoring systems in certain residential districts within Prince George's County (effective October 1, 2021).

Child Passenger Safety Law

Effective October 1, 2012, every child under the age of 8 must ride in an appropriate child restraint, unless the child is 4'9" or taller. More details.

Non-Functioning Traffic Lights

Effective October 1, 2012, a driver approaching a non-functioning traffic control signal from any direction must yield to any vehicle or pedestrian in the intersection and remain stopped until it is safe to enter and continue through the intersection. More details

Motor Scooter and Mopeds
Effective October 1, 2012, all motor scooters and mopeds will be required to be titled and insured. In addition, all operators and passengers must wear a helmet and eye protection. More details.

Traffic Citations

An important change in the law regarding traffic citations went into effect on January 1, 2011. Under the new law, when a driver receives a traffic citation, the driver must do one of the following within 30 days or risk suspension of their license by the Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA):

  • Pay the fine
  • Request a hearing on the sentence
  • Request a trial

Cell Phones and Driving

Maryland law prohibits drivers from using a cell phone while operating a motor vehicle in motion on a street or highway unless the driver is using a hands free device (effective October 1, 2010).

"Move Over" Law

This Maryland law is aimed at protecting the safety of emergency vehicles on the side of the road says that unless a motorist is otherwise directed, a driver on a road that is wide enough, should make a lane change into an available lane not immediately adjacent to the emergency vehicle when there is an emergency vehicle with flashing lights on the shoulder ahead (effective October 1, 2010). For more information, view the Move Over Law news release.

Text Messaging

A person may not use a text messaging device to write or send a text message while operating a motor vehicle in motion or in the travel portion of the roadway (effective October 1, 2009).

This does not apply to global positioning systems; or to a text messaging device to contact a 9-1-1 system. Violators of this may face up to a $70 fine.

Maryland’s Child Passenger Safety Law

Every child under 8 years old must ride in a booster seat or other appropriate child safety seat, unless the child is 4 feet 9 inches or taller or weighs more than 65 pounds (effective June 30, 2008).

Every child from 8 to 16 years old who is not secured in a car seat must be secured in the vehicle’s seat belt.