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Maryland Learners Permit Restrictions - MD Driving Permit Rules

Maryland Learners Permit Restrictions - MD Driving Permit Rules

Maryland learners permit holders of all ages have to observe all learners permit restrictions if they want to receive a drivers license. Most of the Maryland permit restrictions are dictated by the state graduated drivers license program and must be observed by learners permit holders of all ages. Maryland drivers permit restrictions were designed to keep new drivers safe and help them to get through the first dangerous years of driving with the least possible amount of stress. Please remember that failure to observe these permit rules and requirements may lead to losing the driving privileges completely.

Most of the first time applicants in Maryland complain that the licensing procedure is complicated and lengthy beyond any reason. The opinion is quite understandable and you can't blame them for thinking that - it takes the minimum of two years from the time of your first application to the day when you receive your Maryland drivers license, provided you don't stall on any of the application stages. However, when you break the licensing procedure down to multiple steps and examine each one of them, it all makes perfect sense.

The state licensing procedure is regulated by the Maryland graduated drivers license system or what is commonly known as the Rookie Driver law. The law mandates that all first time license applicants are to go through a number of intermediate steps - such as the learners permit and provisional license stages - before they are issued a full drivers license. The law also dictates the permit restrictions and provisional license rules that must be observed at each stage. Approaching the licensing this way allows all first time drivers to gain some driving experience before they are let lose on public roads. Mandatory Maryland drivers education classes also reinforce the understanding and appreciation of the dangers driving may pose.

Although the licensing procedure is the same for drivers license applicants of all ages, drivers under the age of 18 may have to observe additional restrictions that forbid usage of cell phones and alcohol consumption.

Maryland Drivers Permit Restrictions

Applying for a Maryland drivers permit is the first step towards achieving a full drivers license. The minimum age when you can apply for a permit is 15 years and 9 months. Please note that there are two types of permits that can be issued in Maryland - type 1 and type 2 learners permits. Type 2 learners permits are issued to those who previously held a drivers license or are applying for a different license class. This type of learners permit has it's own set of restrictions and regulations. In this publication, we are only concerned with a regular class 1 drivers permit restrictions.

Before you can be issued with a permit, the state requires you to take a Maryland permit test that will check whether you are familiar with the traffic law, road signs and safe driving practices. Although the test is not especially hard, more than a half of all first time applicants fail the test the first time they take it. If you want to see whether you are prepared to take your real permit test, take a Maryland practice permit test that uses similar wording and covers the same areas as the real exam.

Once you got your drivers permit, you can finally get behind the wheel and start preparing for your Maryland drivers test. The permit is valid for 12 months, but you can take a road test in just 180 days, provided you meet all graduated license requirements. During this stage, you have to observe the following Maryland permit restrictions:

  • No driving alone. You must have a supervising driver seated next to you whenever you are behind the wheel. The supervising driver must hold a valid drivers license, be at least 21 years of age and have 3 or more years of driving experience.
  • No cell phones. You cannot use a cell phone or any other communication device at this stage.

In addition to observing these drivers permit restrictions, you must also meet other permit requirements. During this stage, you must complete a Maryland drivers education class that consists of at least 30 hours of classroom instruction and 6 hours of driving instruction. The MVA does not accept online drivers ed or any other home study programs, so you will have to complete the class either through your high school or a commercial driving school.

In addition to completing drivers ed, you must also accumulate at least 60 hours of supervised driving hours. 10 of these hours must be done at nighttime. All hours must be recorded in a Practice and Skills Log form that can be obtained from the MVA. If you are under 18 years of age, the form must be signed by your parent or legal guardian. For other drivers, the form can be signed by a mentor.

One of the key permit restrictions that can impede your progress through the program is that you cannot have any traffic violations during your permit holding period. If you are convicted of a traffic offense, your permit holding period will be restarted and you will have to wait another six months before you can take the road test.

Although the learners permit restrictions are lifted once you take a driving test and obtain your provisional drivers license, don't rush into thinking that now you can do whatever you want behind the wheel. Your provisional license allows unsupervised driving under most conditions, but it still holds numerous restrictions that must be observed for quite a bit of time.

Provisional License Restrictions

A provisional license can be issued either to those who graduated from the first level of the Rookie Driver program or to those who currently hold a drivers license issued by a different state or country, but have less than 18 months of driving experience. The holding periods for the provisional drivers license are as following:

  • previous driving experience less than 6 months - must hold a provisional drivers license for at least 18 months
  • previous driving experience 6 to 12 months - must hold a provisional drivers license for at least 12 months
  • previous driving experience 12 to 18 months - must hold a provisional drivers license for at least 6 months

During this holding period, drivers who are under 18 years of age must observe the following provisional license restrictions:

  • no driving alone between midnight and 5 a.m., unless there is a supervising drivers who is at least 21 years of age is present in the vehicle. The MVA can make an exception to this rule if you are traveling to or from work, school activity, an organized volunteer program or an athletic training session.
  • For the first 5 months, no passengers under the age of 18 other than the immediate family members, unless there is a supervising driver present
  • No cell phones. You cannot use any communication devices while driving.

Just like with the learners permit, the holding period is restarted if you are convicted of a traffic violation. Otherwise, these restrictions are automatically lifted once the holding period expires. At this point, the MVA will mail you a supplemental card that must be carried together with your drivers license. When the time comes to renew your license, you will exchange the supplemental card and the provisional license for a full Maryland driver license. The official Maryland drivers manual contains detailed information about the fees associated with the process.