New Laws Impacting Md. Drivers to Take Effect October 1 - Southern Maryland Headline News

New Laws Impacting Md. Drivers to Take Effect October 1

GLEN BURNIE, Md. (Sept. 27, 2016)—A number of motor vehicle laws passed by the Maryland General Assembly during their 2016 session will take effect on Saturday, October 1, 2016. Thirteen bills that passed both houses of the General Assembly will have a direct impact on the Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA) and Md. drivers.

The following highlights the bills that have passed and will have a direct impact on MVA or transportation related issues.

Vehicle Bills

Chapter 231 (SB 0774) Motor Vehicles—Autocycles—Standards and Requirements

This bill establishes a new type of motor vehicle, the autocycle, which is a type of motorcycle with three wheels that drives more like a car, with seats, steering wheel, and foot pedal controls similar to those in a passenger vehicle. The new vehicles will be classed as a motorcycle with a unique body style and exception code; however, they will not require a motorcycle license to operate. Instead, they will require an ordinary Class C driver's license to operate; however, driver's license applicants will not be permitted to take the driver's skills test in an autocycle.

Effective Date July 1, 2016

Chapter 446 (SB 0888) & Chapter 447 (HB 0912) Motor Vehicle Insurance—Program to Incentivize and Enable Uninsured Vehicle Owners to Be Insured

This bill establishes a program to assist and encourage uninsured drivers with past due insurance fines and uninsured vehicle(s) to become insured, in part by waiving 80% of their fines that became past due before January 1, 2014. The program will run for a period of 90 days beginning January 1, 2017 or later. In order to participate in the program, a driver will be required to pay the remaining balance of their fines (after the waiver), as well as a Central Collection Unit (CCU) fee, if applicable, and they must not have been issued a judgment by CCU. A participant will also be required to obtain insurance on their uninsured vehicle for a period of at least 6 months, or 1 year if the amount waived exceeds $3,000.

Effective Date July 1, 2016

Chapter 407 (SB 0579) & Chapter 408 (HB 0922) Vehicle Laws—Application—Park Model Recreational Vehicles—Definition

This bill established a definition for a park model recreational vehicle, which is a vehicle designed as temporary living quarters for recreational camping, travel, or seasonal use. The vehicle must be built on a single chassis, mounted on wheels, and have a gross trailer area not exceeding 400 square feet (when setup). The bill defines a park model recreational vehicle as a type of travel trailer.

Effective Date June 1, 2016

Chapter 608 (HB 0058) Vehicle Laws—Historic Motor Vehicles—Authorized Uses and Inspections

This bill alters the owner certification required with application for registration of an historic motor vehicle by eliminating "and similar uses" from the list of permitted uses, and also by adding to the list of prohibited uses "for employment," "for transportation to and from employment or school," and "for commercial purposes." The bill also authorizes law enforcement to issue a safety equipment repair order (SERO) to any historic vehicle with a model year of 1986 or later.

Effective Date October 1, 2016

Chapter 401 (SB 0544) & Chapter 402 (HB 0720) Motor Vehicle Insurance—Insurance Identification Card—Carrying Proof of Coverage—Uninsured Motorist Education and Enforcement Fund

This law requires drivers to possess, or carry in their automobile, a current insurance identification card issued by their insurance carrier. The insurance identification card may be in tangible (paper, plastic, etc.) or in an electronic format. A person who violates this requirement can be fined $50. The bill provides for a delayed implementation of the fine, which will start on July 1, 2017.

Effective Date October 1, 2016

Chapter 728 (HB 0986) Vehicle Laws—Trade-In Allowance—Leased Vehicles

This bill provides that a person trading in a leased vehicle to purchase or lease another vehicle may receive a trade-in allowance toward the "total purchase price" of the new vehicle.

Effective Date October 1, 2016

Chapter 734 (HB 1179) Vehicle Laws—HOV Lanes—Plug-In Electric Drive and Hybrid Vehicles

This bill requires the Administration to issue an HOV permit to a "qualified hybrid vehicle," allowing the vehicle to be driven in the HOV lane on U.S. Route 50 between I95/I495 and U.S. Route 301, regardless of the number of people in the vehicle. The Administration will issue no more than 2,000 of these special permits, which will be marked with "Rt. 50" to distinguish them from other HOV lane permits.

Effective Date October 1, 2016

Driver Bills

Chapter 512 (SB 0945) Drunk Driving Reduction Act of 2016 (Noah's Law)

This bill substantially alters and strengthens Maryland's DWI/DUI and Ignition Interlock laws, by increasing both judicial and administrative penalties, requiring longer periods of suspension and/or participation in the Ignition Interlock Program ("IIP"), and by applying penalties to more alcohol offenders. All individuals convicted of a violation of § 21-902(a), driving while under the influence of alcohol (DUI), will be required to participate in the Ignition Interlock Program—6 months for a first violation, 1 year for a second, and 3 years for a third or subsequent violation. Driver's license suspensions for per se alcohol violations (a breath alcohol concentration (BAC) test result of .08 or higher) will increase to 180 days; suspensions for high BAC violations (a BAC test result of .15 or higher) will increase to 180 days for a first violation and 270 days for a second or subsequent violation; and the suspension periods for a test refusal will increase to 270 days for a first violation and 2 years for a second or subsequent violation. In lieu of a suspension, individuals can opt to participate in the Ignition Interlock Program for 180 days for a BAC test result of .08 or higher or 1 year for either a BAC test result of .15 or higher or a test refusal. The bill has many more provisions, including requiring IIP participation for more individuals, establishing requirements for successful program completion, and establishing certain credit provisions for program participation.

Effective Date October 1, 2016

Chapter 158 (SB 0080) Commercial Drivers' Licenses—Cancellations and Downgrades (Driving Privilege Preservation Act of 2016)

This bill requires the MVA to cancel the commercial driver's license of any individual who fails to submit to the Administration a current certificate of physical examination, as required by federal law (49 C.F.R. § 391.43 and § 391.45). The bill also permits the MVA to immediately reinstate the noncommercial driving privilege of, and, under certain circumstances, issue a noncommercial driver's license (Class C) to, an individual whose commercial driver's license is cancelled solely for failure to submit the required certificate of physical examination. This will assist commercial driver's license holders by preserving their noncommercial driving privileges while they regain their commercial driving privilege following a cancellation for failure to submit the required medical certificate.

Effective Date October 1, 2016

Miscellaneous Bills

Chapter 172 (SB 170) & Chapter 173 (HB 344) Voter Registration—Affiliation With Political Party and Participation in Primary Election, Caucus, or Convention

This bill requires a voter registration application to inform an applicant that they must register for a political party if they wish to take part in that political party's primary election, caucus, or convention.

Effective Date June 1, 2016

Chapter 287 (HB 1007) Freedom to Vote Act

This bill will alter slightly the wording of some of the "motor voter" screens that enable a customer to apply to register to vote as part of their driver's license or ID card application. The bill also imposes certain reporting requirements for information about the numbers of people who register to vote through the MVA and efforts being made to increase voter registration, as well as information about the efficiency of the voter registration process.

Effective Date July 1, 2016

Chapter 151 (SB 0028) State Government—Web Sites—Language Access

This bill requires the MVA, beginning October 1, 2016, to translate our public web pages (with limited exceptions) into any language that is spoken by any limited English proficiency population that constitutes at least 0.5% (one half of one percent) of the overall population of the State and that can be translated free of charge. The Department of Information Technology (DoIT) will set standards for the translations.

Effective Date July 1, 2016

Chapter 350 (SB 0119) Business Regulation—Business Discounts and Preferences for Veterans—Identification

This bill requires any business registered with the State Department of Assessments and Taxation that offers a discount or preference to veterans to accept a valid Maryland driver's license or identification card that includes a "VETERAN" designation as verification of the card holder's veteran status.

Effective Date October 1, 2016

Sponsored Content

Reader Comments

Featured Sponsor

Southernwood Roofing & Siding
Quality, choice and personal attention come standard.

Follow SoMd HL News