Each state has specific requirements for securing a driver’s license, including the minimum age at which you can obtain a learner’s permit, and certain restrictions newly licensed drivers must follow. Some states make it more difficult to get a license than others. According to a new study, Maryland ranks third as the toughest state to secure a driver’s license. Washington and Massachusetts are the only two states that are tougher.
In addition to the standard requirements, Maryland also enforces a graduated licensing system (GLS) which a new driver obtains after passing the driver skills test. This provisional license allows the new driver to gain experience behind the wheel, but with certain restrictions.
Requirement for a Provisional License
In addition to completing a Maryland driver education course, all new motorists must follow the GLS licensing system, which involves a three-step process, including:
Obtain learner’s permit: This gives new drivers the opportunity to practice their driving skills while under the supervision of an experienced driver. The new driver must meet the minimum age requirement. They must also pass a vision test, as well as a knowledge test that includes questions about signs, signals, and rules of the road.
Provisional license: Drivers with a provisional license are able to drive unsupervised, but with certain restrictions, including the following:
May not drive unsupervised between 10:00 p.m. and 5:00 a.m.
License will be revoked for any alcohol-related offense
Limitations on the number of passengers allowed in the vehicle
Must have zero accidents or violations for 12 consecutive months in order to obtain a full driver’s license
Full driver’s license: The driver has unlimited privileges with a full driver’s license. To advance to a full driver’s license, the novice driver must meet the minimum age requirement in Maryland, complete advanced driver education, pass a second level written and on-road driving test, and successfully complete the provisional license phase.
The Why of the Strict Laws
These strict laws have been established in response to the high crash rates among teen drivers. According to the State Highway Administration Safety Information Database, crash rates peak during a teen driver’s first few months of driving. In fact, 16-year old drivers are 10 times more likely to be involved in a car accident than an adult driver.
Unfortunately, teens are also the least likely to wear their seatbelts, regardless of whether they are behind the wheel or a passenger. Based on these statistics, it should come as no surprise that car accidents are the leading cause of death among teens in the United States, with over 5,000 teens between the ages of 16 and 20 fatally injured each year.