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Maryland Driving and Traffic Laws

When you're driving in Maryland, it's important to follow the state's rules of the road. This will help you avoid traffic tickets and accidents, but will also help you keep your car insurance rates low. When you get tickets or get into accidents, that indicates to an auto insurance company that you're willing to take risks when you drive. Since drivers who take one risk are likely to take others, your rates will go up. If you want to keep them down, be sure to follow MD's driving and traffic laws.

Important Maryland Driving and Traffic Laws

All children who ride in vehicles in Maryland need to be in approved child safety seats until they are either 4'9" or taller, or weigh 65 pounds. Even after they are out of their safety seats, children are required by law to wear seat belts until they are 16 years old. In addition, Maryland encourages drivers to only allow children to ride in the rear seats, as these are safer for them. They also suggest that all people in a Maryland vehicle wear seat belts, even though only front seat passengers are required to if they are over the age of 16.

If you do receive a traffic ticket in Maryland, your license will be docked a certain number of points. More serious offenses are worth more points. If you get 3 points on your license, you will receive a warning letter from the government. If you get 5 points, you will have to participate in a Driver Improvement Program. 8 points on your license will earn you a suspension, and 12 points will get it revoked. While the government will keep track of all your points when you drive in Maryland, points will be cease to count against you after three years if you have not had any further driving incidents.

Driving Under the Influence in Maryland

Maryland takes seriously the safety of all the drivers and passengers on its roads, so the state has some of the stiffest laws for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs in the country. If you have some drinks in Maryland, it is better to not take the risk of getting behind the wheel. Instead, call someone or take a taxi home. You can always pick up your car later.

If you are pulled over under suspicion of driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, the officer who pulls you over will request a chemical test. They can request a test of your breath, urine, or blood, and may request more than one test if they want to. You must submit to this testing. In fact, refusing a test is considered like an admission of guilt, and has some immediate consequences. You can lose your license for up to 120 days and your refusal may be admissible in court as evidence that you were impaired while driving.

When the officer asks for a chemical test, he is specifically looking for the presence of drugs in your system and/or your blood alcohol count (BAC). This tells him how much you have had to drink and, therefore, how impaired you are. If your BAC is over 0.08, you will be charged with driving under the influence (DUI). If it is between 0.07 and 0.08, you will be charged with driving while impaired (DWI). A DWI is basically a slightly lesser version of a DUI, though both have serious consequences in Maryland.

In addition, you can be charged with a DUI or a DWI even if your BAC is lower than 0.07, or if you don't have alcohol in your system but do test positive for other drugs. A police officer can test your coordination and other skills. If they find evidence that your ability to drive or make good choices behind the wheel has been compromised, you will face penalties even if you do not have very much alcohol in your system.

Penalties for getting a DUI or a DWI in Maryland vary based on how many of the offenses you have committed, how close together they are, and how impaired you are. You will face a mandatory driver's license suspension, fines, jail time, points on your driving record, a mandatory substance abuse assessment at your cost, and/or community service. Your exact penalty will be determined in court.

Clearly, it is in your best interests, not to mention the best interests of other drivers, if you refrain from driving when there is anything in your system that could impair your skill or judgment behind the wheel. While these are not the only traffic laws that Maryland takes seriously, they have some of the stiffest penalties because impaired drivers cause some of the worst accidents. If you have more questions about Maryland's driving laws, be sure to contact their Department of Motor Vehicles.


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