From Fuzzy Dice to Passing on the Right: New Maryland Vehicle Laws You Might Not Know About

Did you know…? If you’re inclined to drive an ATV or snowmobile on authorized portions of a Maryland highway, you’ll need a driver’s license? Or that hanging fuzzy dice and other doodads from the vehicle’s rear-view mirror may now be cited as a secondary traffic offense? Those and several other new Maryland vehicle laws went into effect last year — but you might not be aware of them.

For our Maryland drivers who want to do their best to avoid motor vehicle accidents and abide by state transportation laws…here is a brief rundown of the new Maryland Vehicle Laws. As of October 1, 2017, The Maryland General Assembly, Department of Legislative Services, put the following vehicle laws into effect:

  • Registered tow trucks responding to calls for service may operate in high occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes, regardless of number of passengers in the vehicle, if they receive prior law enforcement authorization.
  • Maximum motorcycle handlebar heights have increased from 15 to 20 inches above a specified part of the motorcycle seat.
  • Bicycles, play vehicles, and unicycles operating on sidewalks and through crosswalks have the same rights and are subject to the same restrictions as pedestrians.
  • Obstructions hanging from rear-view mirrors that impede the driver’s view on the highway are now regarded as a secondary traffic offense (i.e., police cannot stop you for your dangling fuzzy dice, graduation tassels, or air fresheners alone—but can cite you for obstructed view if you are stopped for another traffic violation)
  • Passing on the right of another vehicle making or about to make a left turn by driving outside the marked lane onto the shoulder is allowed, if the driver can do so without leaving the paved surface.
  • School crossing guards who meet specified qualifications are authorized to direct vehicles and pedestrians on a highway or on school grounds to assist non-school vehicles in entering and leaving school grounds.

For the full run-down of these and other changes to Maryland vehicle laws, see link to the official Maryland State Legislature document, 2017 Chapters, below.

More new Maryland transportation-related laws will be put into effect this October 2018. For example, the Governor has signed a bill that prohibits the issuance of a citation for a violation recorded by a traffic control signal monitoring system (i.e., a red light camera system) if the signal does not display a yellow light in compliance with State and Federal standards. Given the ongoing controversy over Baltimore speed cameras, that law should be well received by the driving public.

Sources:

New Maryland Laws Take Effect October 1, 2017
Baltimore Patch Sept. 28, 2017

Maryland General Assembly, Department of Legislative Services
2017 Chapters – Effective October 1, 2017 (PDF)

Department of Legislative Services
Maryland General Assembly, 2018 Session
House Bill 204 (Delegate Korman, et al.)
Environment and Transportation Judicial Proceedings
Traffic Control Signal Monitoring Systems – Yellow Signal Compliance

Maryland Senate Bill 979 (signed into law May 2017)
Vehicle Laws – All–Terrain Vehicles and Snowmobiles (PDF)