Recent Changes to the Law

Changes in Motor Vehicle Laws


Recent changes are summarized here. Follow the links to learn more about each subject.

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


Another law in Maryland 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.

Speed Enforcement Cameras


Speed Enforcement Cameras are being used in school zones (effective October 1, 2009).

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.