Licensing & State Laws

To get your driver’s license in Maryland, you’ll move through three licensing stages. You’ll need your parents’ permission at each step as you progress.

Learner’s Permit

When you turn 15 years and 9 months, you can apply for a learner’s permit in the state of Maryland. To do so you must visit a full service Motor Vehicle Administration office, accompanied by a parent or legal guardian. The parent or legal guardian must cosign your application. If you are younger than 16 you must submit a completed Learner’s Permit School Attendance Certification form. You must pass a written driver’s knowledge test and a vision test to receive an instruction permit.

With a learner’s permit, you may drive when accompanied by a licensed driver, 21 years or older, who has at least 3 years of driving experience sitting in the front seat. You must g obtain at least 60 hours of certified practice driving, including at least 10 hours at night. A practice driving skills log must be kept (signed by an adult) and submitted to the MVA. You must hold the permit for a minimum of 9 months, maintain a conviction-free driving record during this time period, and complete a standardized driver education course before becoming eligible for a provisional license.

Provisional License

When you turn 16 years and 6 months and have held a learner’s permit for 9 months, you are eligible for a provisional license. You must submit a completed and signed Practice Skills Log documenting a minimum of 60 hours of supervised driving (including 10 hours at night), and pass a driving skills test administered either in traffic or on a course.

With a provisional license, you’re only allowed to drive unsupervised between 5 a.m. and midnight, with exceptions granted for employment, school activities, volunteer programs or athletic events/training. During the first 5 months of the provisional period, you are not allowed to have passengers under age 18, unless the passengers are direct family members or relatives living at your address. You’re exempt from the night and passenger limits if accompanied by a licensed driver age 21 or older who has 3 years of experience. You and all your passengers must use seat belts or other proper restraints. You must hold your provisional license for a minimum of 18 consecutive months without a violation before converting to a full license.

Full License

When you turn 18, you are eligible for a full unrestricted license if you have held your provisional license for a minimum of 18 months and have been conviction-free during that period. The MVA automatically converts the license to full driver’s license status.

Now is a good time to set up a parent-teen driving agreement to help you and your parents establish expectations related to both their rules and the laws in your state.

For more information on the licensing process, visit the Motor Vehicle Administration.

The Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration is in charge of licensing for all drivers in Maryland. The MVA conducts the written exam and road test needed to obtain a driver’s license. It also provides study materials to help you get ready for the exams.

Your parents will do most of the rule setting and enforcement as you learn to drive. But state and local police are involved, too.

Police enforce traffic laws and investigate crashes. By enforcing traffic laws and requirements on seat belt use, distracted driving, drinking and driving, and teen licensing laws, police keep everyone on the road safer. Breaking the law can lead to fines, license suspension and other penalties.

  • If pulled over by the police, expect to present your driver’s license, the vehicle registration and proof of insurance.
  • If stopped as a driver or passenger, always cooperate and be respectful with law enforcement.
  • If in any kind of situation involving law enforcement, talk to your parents about it immediately afterward.

If you get a ticket or are involved in a crash, you may need to appear in court, whether you believe you were at fault or not. This is serious stuff: Judges often assess fines and suspend driving privileges for traffic offenses.

Police and courts are there when things go wrong. You and your parents can help keep things right.

  • Use a parent-teen driving agreement.
  • Keep your parents in the know about who you ride with.
  • Let your parents know when and where you’re headed.