New Motor Vehicle-Related Laws to Take Effect Oct. 1

GLEN BURNIE, Md.—Several new motor vehicle-related laws will take effect in Maryland on Monday, October 1. Included in the new laws, is House Bill 149 / Senate Bill 309: Mopeds and Motor Scooters, which requires all mopeds and motor scooters to be titled and issued a permanent decal which is to be placed on the rear of the motor scooter. The cost for the decal will be $5. For the first year, until October 1, 2013 non-new motor scooters and mopeds will be exempt from the titling fee and excise tax. After October 1, 2013, the motor scooter and moped title fee will be $20 and the minimum excise tax will be 6% of $320. Individuals will have to certify, at the time of titling, that they carry the minimum levels of liability insurance for the motor scooter/moped. Operators of motor scooters and mopeds will be required to wear motorcycle helmets, eye protection and carry an insurance card.

Additional laws include:

House Bill 1180 Vehicle Laws - Required Security - Electronic Reporting Requirements which requires insurance companies to immediately report, electronically, to the MVA information on newly insured customers. This will improve the accuracy of the vehicle insurance database that MVA maintains and will allow swifter focus on uninsured vehicles.

Senate Bill 401 Motor Vehicles - Towing Practices and Procedures which requires large visible signs with the name of the towing company and other information displayed on any private property from which the owner may tow vehicles. Tow companies or storage yards must permit the retrieval of the vehicle twenty four hours a day, seven days a week. Vehicles can only be towed a maximum of 15 miles from the site of the tow. Spotters for towers are also prohibited. The cost for towing and storage is capped. The tower must take a photograph of the violation. After attaching a warning to the vehicle, a tower cannot tow for a lapsed registration sticker for 72 hours.

House Bill 67 / SB 177 Vehicle Laws - Nonfunctioning Traffic Control Signals changes the law to require that a vehicle approaching a non-functioning traffic light must stop and yield to other vehicles and pedestrians in the intersection before proceeding through the intersection.

Senate Bill 111 Vehicle Laws - Identification Cards and Drivers' Licenses increases the maximum duration of a driver's license or identification card from 5 years to 8 years. The MVA will be phasing in the 8 year driver's license to certain customers through a computer generated process.

House Bill 292 / Senate Bill 506 Vehicle Laws - Provisional Driver's Licenses reduces the required holding period and on road practice time for first time drivers who are over the age of 25. Customers over 25 years old will be eligible to take the driver skills test after a learner's permit holding period of 45 days, rather than 9 months, and with 14 hours of self-certifying practice time, rather than 60 hours.

Senate Bill 741 Vehicle Laws - U.S. Foreign Service Members Absent from State permits employees of the U.S. Foreign Service and their families, who are absent from the state due to their employment, to maintain licensure for up to 30 days from the date they return to Maryland.

House Bill 313 / Senate Bill 185 Motor Vehicles - Child Safety requires children, under the age of 8, to sit in a child safety seat unless they are at least 4 feet 9 inches tall, regardless of their weight.

House Bill 499 Vehicle Laws - Disposition of Vehicle creates a new process for the disposal of motor vehicles without a certificate of title or a salvage certificate. If a vehicle is going to be used for parts only or scrapped and never re-titled, a licensed automotive dismantler and recycler or scrap processor can take the vehicle, provide notice, hold the vehicle for 11 business days and then junk / scrap the vehicle. Detailed records of the transaction, including the recording of the driver's license and registration of the person transferring the vehicle, must be kept. The information must be placed in the Maryland State Police's database, and an affidavit form developed by the MVA must be signed.

House Bill 435 / Senate Bill 487 Vehicle Laws - Salvage - Defective, Lost or Destroyed Certificates of Title permits an insurance company that has acquired a vehicle in the settlement of a claim, but for which the certificate of title is defective, lost or destroyed, to apply for a salvage certificate if they submit an affidavit, along with a copy of the settlement check or other evidence of final payment.

House Bill 678 / Senate Bill 591 Real Property - Manufactured Homes establishes a process by which a manufactured home can be converted from a vehicle to real estate property and vice versa.

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