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Glen Burnie, MD (September 28, 2023) – The Maryland Department of Transportation Motor Vehicle Administration is raising awareness of two new laws taking effect Sunday, October 1 – one that extends the time for those attempting to obtain a Commercial Driver’s License, and another eliminating a potential fee for surviving spouses retitling a shared vehicle. Both measures were requested by the Motor Vehicle Administration, passed during the 2023 General Assembly session and signed into law by Governor Wes Moore.
The revision to Maryland’s Commercial Driver's Licenses and Instructional Permits – which passed as Senate Bill 709 – allows anyone obtaining a Commercial Learner’s Permit an additional six months to complete their testing requirements. The measure is designed to ensure candidates are fully comfortable with the requirements before they attempt the rigorous commercial skills test, and was proposed after the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration enacted a change in 2022 requiring additional training for drivers prior to taking the test. The additional requirements increased the overall amount of time needed to obtain a CDL, and many drivers do not complete all portions of the CDL skills testing in current six-month term. The Motor Vehicle Administration estimates that increasing the permit time to one year will lead to approximately 3,900 fewer individuals having to retake the instructional permit test.
Additionally, the new law allows CDL holders to use their Medical Examiner’s Certificate to satisfy a requirement to have a vision certification when renewing their license. A medical examiner is an individual certified by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and is listed on the National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners. Under federal regulations, the Motor Vehicle Administration is required to have a valid biennial medical examiner’s certificate for CDL holders, which requires a vision test. As of October 1, a valid CDL medical certificate will meet that requirement.
“The last few years have highlighted the importance of our commercial trucking industry and the extent of driver shortages,” said Motor Vehicle Administrator Chrissy Nizer. “The Motor Vehicle Administration will continue to examine ways to find solutions that ease the regulatory burden for new and current CDL holders. These reforms will not only reduce the need for branch visits, but also allow those attempting to obtain a CDL more time to do so without compromising safety.”
The other measure, regarding certificates of title for a surviving spouse, was enacted as Senate Bill 705. The legislation allows a surviving spouse to retitle a shared vehicle without the $100 retitling fee – regardless of whether the spouse is co-titled on the vehicle or not. Currently, if surviving spouses are not listed as the joint owner of the vehicle, they are charged a $100 fee for a new certificate of title. A surviving spouse who is listed as the joint vehicle owner with the decedent is not charged a fee for a new title. This new law establishes a uniform fee exemption for both situations, and brings several thousand transactions per year in line with a 2013 law that waived the fee for vehicles that were co-titled.
For a complete list of motor vehicle laws passed by the 2023 General Assembly, click here.