Message from MVA Administrator
For many teenagers, getting a driver’s license is one of the first steps toward independence and becoming an adult. This is an exciting time and also a very dangerous time for new teen drivers. It is important to remember that you play a critical role in ensuring that your new driver develops safe and responsible driving behavior.
The statistics are stacked against your teenager. According to the to National Safety Council, young drivers are more likely than anyone else to be injured or killed in a vehicle crash. In 2007, there were 18,993 young driver-involved crashes, accounting for 18.8% of the total crashes in Maryland. Crash rates are highest during a teen’s first few months behind the wheel.
The statistics can be distressing, but with your guidance, your new driver can develop responsible driving behavior. Another tool in this effort is a new law taking effect on October 1, 2009, which recognizes the need for more experience on the road and establishes serious sanctions for dangerous behavior. Below are the requirements of the new law:
- The Learner’s Permit must be held nine months before the individual is eligible for a Provisional License and therefore the minimum age to be eligible for a Provisional License will be 16 years, 6 months.
- Anyone who obtained a Learner’s Permit before October 1, 2009, WILL BE required to hold their permit until they reach the new 9 month requirement.
- The licensee must be without a conviction or probation before judgment (PBJ) for 9 months in order to obtain a provisional license and 18 months for a full license.
- The parent and co-signer, can withdraw consent at any time while a teen driver is a minor and the MVA will cancel their learner’s permit or provisional license.
- Penalties for moving violations have been strengthened for repeated violations. Drivers under the age 18 face the following penalties for repeated violations:
- Mandatory completion of a driver improvement program.
- Driving restricted to education and employment purposes only.
- Retaking of all law and driving skills tests.
- License suspension for excessive points within a 12-month period, for repeated convictions or PBJs during the provisional period or for a conviction on an offense classified as high risk driving.
- Revocation of the driver’s license.
Driving a motor vehicle on public roadways is a serious responsibility. The changes in the law support your role in making your teen a safe driver. In addition to providing driving experience, you need to establish clear expectations and limit your teen’s exposure to unsafe situations until they demonstrate they are ready for more responsibility. Your involvement, patience, and guidance can greatly increase the odds of your teen’s safety while operating a motor vehicle.
For more details, visit our web site at www.mvamaryland.com or call the MVA Customer Service Center at 1-410-768-7000.
John T. Kuo