Choose Safety for Life
Choose Safety for LifeMaryland Safety Campaigns
Martin O'Malley, Governor, and Anthony G. Brown, Lt. Governor
| about the campaign | Download materials | Partners | Governor's Message | FAQs | Contact Us |
| prevention | statistics | strategic highway safety plan | news & media | driver improvement program | take the pledge |
Did You Know?
The risk of a 16 year old driver being killed increases by 86% with two passengers, and
nearly triples with three passengers.
Stay Informed!
Sign me up for campaign e-mail notifications!
  Home > Young Drivers  
  Young Drivers.  

Save a Life: Put the Cell Phone Down

Make Your Vehicle a No Phone Zone!

Talking on a hand-held mobile phone while driving is a distraction that is not only dangerous, but beginning October 1 in Maryland, it also is illegal.

Cell Phone Law (PDF format)

Cell Phone Law FAQs
(PDF format)

Texting While Driving Law
(PDF format)

The Driving while Texting Law prohibits a person from using a text messaging device to write or send a text message while operating a motor vehicle in motion or in the travel portion of the roadway; specifying exceptions for use of a global positioning system, or text messaging to contact a 9-1-1 system; etc.  The Maryland law makes the activity a misdemeanor crime.  A civil penalty will be imposed and a fine of not more than $500.00 can be enforced if convicted.

Let Technology Remove the Urge to Text

Text-Blocking Apps a Huge Hit With Consumers

"More than 1 trillion text messages were sent worldwide last year.  Undoubtedly many of those texts were created and transcribed while in a vehicle, oftentimes by the driver of that vehicle.  A report by the National Safety Council found cell phone use leads to about 1.6 million crashes a year, about 200,000 of those crashes are caused by texting while driving. Studies show teenagers are especially prone to text and drive, with a recent survey showing 46 percent of drivers ages 16 to 17 admit to texting while driving.

We all know that texting while driving is not a safe decision - for your well-being and for everyone else with whom you share the road with.  In Maryland, legislators deemed it so dangerous that they banned the act of texting-while-driving in 2009.  However, human nature often prevails when we hear the sound of an incoming text message.  Cell phone application developers have picked up on this behavior and have made several applications that remove that ability to send or receive texts while a vehicle is in motion.  Below is a listing of several of these applications, with a side-by-side comparison of their features and prices.
For a PDF version, please click here."

Defensive Driving & Vehicle Control Training

Learn how to handle your car in any situation.
Designed especially for new drivers who want more specialized experience on the road, Collision Avoidance Training teaches hands-on techniques for evasive maneuvers, emergency braking, cornering, backing, skid recovery, steering, acceleration and more.

Click here to learn more. (pdf format)

Teen Driver Safety
Concentration Game
Coponcentration Game
Click here for to play

National Teen Driver Safety Week
October 17-24, 2010
Click for here for more information

National Teens Don't Text and Drive Week
Click for here for more information

Ford Ride and Drive Event
October 16-17, 2010
Click for here for more information

Young driver-involved crashes, injuries and fatalities have decreased every year since 2003; however, young driver issues remain a concern in many communities across Maryland. The traffic safety programs are dedicated to saving lives and preventing injuries through various outreach opportunities that involve young people and their parents, law enforcement and schools in addressing this persistent traffic safety issue.

Young drivers are often at risk for being involved in crashes because:

  • Operating a complex motor vehicle is a brand-new experience for teens.
  • Their search, scan and reaction abilities are much less developed than those of seasoned drivers.
  • Young drivers see hazards as less dangerous than they really are.
  • Teens like to drive with other teens, which can be distracting and lead to thrill seeking.

  Drive Safe Videos
Keeping Pedestrians Safe When You're Behind the Wheel
  Drive Safe Videos  

Montgomery County, MD
Office of Public Information


Maryland Young Driver Fast Facts

National Young Driver Statistics

Maryland Laws

All applicants for a new Maryland driver’s license must go through a three-step process:

  • Learner's permit
  • Provisional license
  • Full license

Applicants for learner’s permits must be at least 15 years and 9 months old and must pass a vision test and basic driver knowledge test.  

During the learner’s permit period, drivers must complete at least 60 hours of driving practice with someone at least age 21 who has held a driver’s license for at least three years.  Ten of those practice hours must occur while dark outside.  

Once the learner's permit is converted into a provisional license, the driver must then hold that license for a minimum of 18 months.  If he or she is cited for a moving violation, the 18-month period is restarted.  Drivers under age 18 with a provisional license are only authorized to drive without adult supervision from 5 a.m. to midnight.  People under age 18 are prohibited from using a wireless communication device (i.e. cell phone) while operating a motor vehicle, except to contact 911.  Violations may result in a suspension of driving privileges.

The earliest a person can obtain a full license is age 17 and nine months.  For the first 5 months after the provisional license is issued, the new drivers under age 18 are not allowed to transport minors with the exception of family members, unless accompanied by an adult.

For more information about the licensing process, please consult the Maryland Vehicle Administration’s website at

Tips For Parents

Maryland’s graduated licensing law only works with proactive enforcement by parents.  Some things to consider:
Don’t rely solely on driver education. Basic driver education may be the most convenient way to learn skills, but it doesn’t produce safer drivers. Poor skills aren’t always to blame. Teens’ attitudes and decision-making matter more. Teenagers don’t use safety belts as much, and they seek thrills like speeding. Training and education don’t change these tendencies. Peers are influential, but parents have much more influence than typically is credited to them. Set a good example.

Know the law. Become familiar with restrictions on young drivers. Enforce the rules.

Require seat belt use.  Although your teen may buckle up when you’re in the car, don’t assume seat belts will be used all of the time, especially when your child is out with peers. Remember that belt use is lower among teenagers than older people. Insist on belts all the time.

Restrict night driving. Most young drivers’ nighttime fatal crashes occur from 9 p.m. to midnight, so teens shouldn’t drive much later than 9 p.m. The problem isn’t just that such driving requires more skill. Late outings tend to be recreational, and even teens who usually follow the rules can be easily distracted or encouraged to take risks.

Restrict passengers. Teen passengers in a vehicle can distract a beginning driver and/or lead to greater risk taking.  Because young drivers often transport their friends, there’s a teen passenger problem as well as a teen driver problem. About six of every 10 teenage passenger deaths occur in crashes with teen drivers.  While night driving with passengers is particularly lethal, many fatal crashes with teen passengers occur during the day. The best policy is to restrict teen passengers, especially multiple teens, all the time.

Supervise practice driving. Take an active role in helping your teenager learn how to drive. Plan a series of practice sessions in a wide variety of situations, including night driving. Give beginners time to work up to challenges like driving in heavy traffic or on major highways.  Supervised practice should be spread over at least six months and continue even after a teenager graduates from a learner’s permit to a restricted or full license.

Remember that you’re a role model. New drivers learn a lot by example, so practice safe driving. Teens with crashes and violations often have parents with poor driving records.

Prohibit driving after drinking. Make it clear that it’s illegal and highly dangerous for a teenager to drive after drinking alcohol or using any other drug. While alcohol isn’t a factor in most fatal crashes of 16-year-old drivers, even small amounts of alcohol will impair teens.

Choose vehicles for safety, not image. Teenagers should drive vehicles that reduce their chances of a crash and offer protection in case they do crash. For example, small cars don’t offer the best protection in a crash. Avoid cars with performance images that might encourage speeding. Avoid trucks and sport utility vehicles — smaller ones, especially, are more prone to roll over.

Tips For Teens

  • Always wear your seat belt, and make sure all your passengers buckle up, too.
  • Make sure your windshield is clean. At sunrise and sunset, light reflecting off a dirty windshield can momentarily blind you.
  • Never try to pack in more passengers than there are seatbelts in the car.
  • Make sure your car has gas. Don't ride around with the gauge on empty because you don't want to become stranded.
  • Obey all speed limits for both maximum and minimum speeds.
  • Don't run red lights or stop signs.
  • Come to a complete stop at lights or stop signs.
  • Use your turn signal to indicate that you want to turn or change lanes. Turn it on to give the cars behind you enough time to react before you make your move. Also, make sure the signal is off once you're done.
  • When a light turns green, make sure the intersection has cleared before you go.
  • Obey curfews and leave yourself plenty of time to reach your destination.
  • Don't blast the radio. You might miss a siren or a horn that could warn you of possible trouble.
  • Don't drink and drive, and don't ride with anyone who has been drinking. Call your parents or friends to pick you up if you need a ride.
  • Don't take drugs and drive, and don't ride with anyone who has been using drugs. Even some over-the-counter drugs can make you drowsy, so check the label for warnings.
  • Don't drive with small children or even small teenage friends in the front seat of a car that has a passenger-side air bag. They should be buckled up in the back seat instead. Children and small people can be hurt if the air bags deploy, even in collisions at slow speeds. (It's actually safer not to drive with friends and kids in the car when you're learning to drive because they can distract you.)
  • Don't talk on your cell phone, put on makeup, comb your hair, or eat while driving. If you need to make a call, pull off the road to a safe spot and park.
  • Always pull over (to the right side of the road) if a police officer stops you.
  • Don't allow friends or other uninsured drivers to drive your car.
  • If you feel tired or sleepy, pull off the road and call your parents or another adult to help you.
  • Don't drive like you own the road - drive like you own the car.


Your choice.Slow down.Always drive sober.Focus.Everyone share the road.
| about the campaign | Download materials | Partners | Governor's Message | FAQs | Contact Us |