Obtaining a driving license in Maryland

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In Maryland, getting a driving license means going to the Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA) office. MVA is responsible for issuing driving licenses, in addition to licensing and regulating other driving related services.

Maryland’s Motor Vehicle Administration logo

Getting a license involves more than just passing the driving test. Before you get to the driving stage, you will need to apply in person at one of the MVA offices. You will need to provide proof of your:

  • Age,
  • Identity, and
  • Residency

In addition, you will be subject to taking vision screening. If your documents are accepted to the MVA staff’s satisfaction, next step is testing. MVA testing will determine whether or not you have sufficient knowledge and driving skills to hit the road.

Know the type of license you need. Do you just want to ride a motor cycle? If this is the case, you need class "M" license. Presently, MVA has these classifications:

  Class Let's you drive
Commercial A Tractor trailer, trailer over or less than 10,000 lbs, bus. 16 or more passengers, single vehicle 26,001 lbs (and more or less). Recreational vehicles, firefighters, rescue squads, and certain farmers. Basically everything but the motorcycle.
B Single vehicle 26,001 lbs or more, trailer 10,000 lbs. or less, bus 16 or more passengers
C Vehicle under 26,001 lbs, trailer 10,000 lbs or less, bus 16 or more passengers.
Noncommercial A Truck trailer combinations 26,001 or more lbs. Recreational vehicles, firefighters, rescue squads, and certain farmers. Vehicles under 26,001 lbs
B Truck trailer combinations 26,001 or more lbs and vehicles under 26,001 lbs.
C Vehicles under 26,001 lbs.
M Motorcycles
Class M license is required for riding a motorcycle in Maryland.
Class M license is required for riding a motorcycle in Maryland.

For most people obtaining probably the class "C" license is sufficient because lets you drive station wagons, cars, SUVs, light trucks, and vehicle with gross weight of under 26,000 lbs. But class "C" license is not for driving a motorcycle; rather it is "M".

Knowing the class of driving license is not sufficient enough. You need to know more. You need to know about the traffic laws, rules of the road, motor vehicle laws, and safe driving practices. To measure your understanding, you will be given a knowledge test, which can be in the form of written, oral, or computer test. A sample question for class C noncommercial license is

The best way to tell if you are permitted to pass other vehicles is to see if:

A. The road ahead is straight.
B. The vehicle ahead signals that it is OK to pass.
C. There are solid or broken lane markings.
D. There is a green flashing light.

The correct answer choice is C. You will need to get at least 85% question correct to pass the knowledge test.

If you pass the test and if you have never had a license before, you will need to complete a driver’s education program. This means you need to satisfactorily complete MVA-approved driving school training. The training has two main elements: classroom instruction and behind-the-wheel driver training.

Important note

MVA does not accept any driving training you receive from a family member or friend. Driving training must be obtained from a MVA approved driving school. Some private and public schools offer such training. Contact your school or MVA to find out about MVA licensed driving school.

When I took my driver’s training education in 1996, there was test in the final hours the classroom instruction. Some students did not pass the test and they were not allowed to go for the behind-the-wheel training. Actually, the driving school test is very similar to the one you take at the MVA. Because you already have passed the MVA test, there should not any difficulty passing the driving school test.

Full-service MVA offices

160 Harry S Truman Parkway
(off Riva Road)
Annapolis, MD 21401

11760 Baltimore Avenue
Beltsville, MD 20705

105-Chesapeake Blvd., Suite A
Upper Chesapeake
Corporate Center
Elkton, MD 21921

15 Metropolitan Grove Rd.
(off Clopper Road)
Gaithersburg, MD 20878

10251 Central Avenue
(Near Routes 202 & 214)
Upper Marlboro, MD 20772

11 Industrial Park Drive
St. Charles Business Park
Waldorf, MD 20602

Baltimore City
2500 Gwynns Falls Parkway
Baltimore, MD 21216

13300 Winchester Rd., SW
Cumberland, MD 21502

1338 A Eastern Avenue
Baltimore, MD 21221

Glen Burnie Office
6601 Ritchie Hwy., N.E.
Glen Burnie, MD 21062

27351 Point Lookout Road
Leonardtown, MD 20650

1106 Baltimore Blvd.
Westminster, MD 21157

Bel Air
501 W. MacPhail Road
(1 mile south of Rt. 1)
Bel Air, MD 21014

9148 Centreville Rd.
Easton, MD 21601

1601 Bowman’s Farm Road
Exit 56 I-70
Frederick, MD 21701

18306 Col. Henry K.
Douglas Drive
Hagerstown, MD 21740

251 Tilghman Road
Salisbury, MD 21801

For more information contact:

Maryland Department of Transportation
Motor Vehicle Administration
6601 Ritchie Highway, N.E.
Glen Burnie, Maryland 21062
Tel: 1-800-950-1MVA or 1-800-950-1682
Web: www.marylandmva.com

Posted on 11/30/2007
by Raj Singh