ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) — A number of new motor vehicle laws took effect in Maryland on October 1, covering topics from vehicle emissions testing to when a driver can have their license suspended.
Here’s a look at some of the new laws:
Changes To Driver’s License, Vehicle Registration Suspensions Over Unpaid Fines
Senate Bill 234/House Bill 280 changes existing law to restrict MDOT MVA’s ability to suspend a person’s driver’s license if the person doesn’t pay a traffic citation or judgment. It also lowers the threshold for people to request a payment plan for fines from $300 to $150.
In addition, the law requires the state to review current installment plans and apply retroactively to drivers whose licenses are suspended because of a part of the old law.
Senate Bill 859/House Bill 200: License Plate Border Violations
This legislation makes enforcing a violation of license plate frame rules a secondary offense, meaning law enforcement can only enforce the law if they stop a driver for a violation of another law.
House Bill 133: Emissions Inspection Exemption For Deployed Military Personnel
House Bill 133 exempts vehicles owned by at least one deployed active-duty military member from emissions inspection requirements.
In a news release, the Maryland Department of Transportation Motor Vehicle Administration said its leaders proposed the change after the mother of a soldier who was stationed outside of Maryland couldn’t get his vehicle tested.
“As a military mom, I’m extraordinarily grateful to Chrissy Nizer and the MDOT MVA for acting on this issue so quickly,” the mother, Madelaine Waltjen Shedlick, said. “It really was just common sense to implement HB 133. Everyone recognized that and moved forward without delay.”
Senate Bill 199/House Bill 230: Vehicle Laws — Overtaking and Passing Bicycles
This law, which passed in the General Assembly earlier this year, allows drivers to pass a bicyclist in a no-passing zone when it is safe to do so in order to provide a safe distance between the biker and the vehicle.
Similar legislation, which also would have made it legal for a driver to pass farm equipment, tractors and animal-drawn vehicles in a no-passing zone when safe, was introduced in 2018 but died in a senate committee.
House Bill 1118: Voluntary Developmental Disability Self-Disclosure Cards
House Bill 1118 requires MDOT MVA to create a card for those who wish to voluntarily disclose a developmental disability. The card will be about the size of a driver’s license and include details about the disability and guidance for interactions between the person and law enforcement.
The cards will be available for anyone of legal driving age beginning January 1, 2021.