GLEN BURNIE, MD(October 1, 2020) – The Maryland Department of Transportation Motor Vehicle Administration (MDOT MVA) is reminding customers of several new laws passed during the 2020 General Assembly that take effect Thursday, October 1, 2020, including an exemption for deployed military personnel from mandatory Vehicle Emissions Inspection Program (VEIP) requirements. Other new laws involve fee reductions and elimination of license and vehicle registration suspensions because of unpaid traffic citations or judgements.
The measure related to military personnel is HB 133, which allows an exemption from VEIP requirements for vehicles owned by at least one active-duty member of the military who is deployed outside of the U.S. or in a state not subject to a vehicle emissions inspection. MDOT MVA leadership proposed this bill after meeting Madelaine Waltjen Shedlick, the mother of a soldier who was stationed out of state and unable to complete the emissions inspection on his vehicle, which was registered in Maryland. MDOT MVA immediately began working to correct this oversight, and the resulting bill benefits all active-duty military with similar circumstances.
“This new law is the perfect example of why customer feedback is so important,” said MDOT MVA Administrator Chrissy Nizer. “We take customer concerns very seriously, and when we saw the opportunity to improve the way we serve our nation’s heroes, we knew right away proposing this bill was the right thing do.”
“As a military mom, I’m extraordinarily grateful to Chrissy Nizer and the MDOT MVA for acting on this issue so quickly,” said Shedlick. “It really was just common sense to implement HB 133. Everyone recognized that and moved forward without delay.”
“We’re so grateful this was brought to our attention,” said MDOT Secretary Greg Slater. “I appreciate not only the work of our MDOT MVA team in pursuing a solution, but also our legislative partners who passed the bill in short order.”
Other laws taking effect October 1 that are related to motor vehicle operations include:
- HB 230: Vehicle Laws, Overtaking and Passing Bicycles – This law allows vehicle drivers to cross into a no-passing zone to navigate around a bicycle. In doing so, the motorist must yield to the right of way to the bicycle and oncoming traffic. Drivers are required to give bicyclists at least 3 feet when passing.
- HB 271: Vehicle Laws, Certificate of Title Fee Trailer Gifted to Family Member – This law reduces the certificate of title fee from $100 to $50 for a trailer weighing less than 3,000 pounds that is transferred to a direct family member if the transferor is 65 years or older. The transfer must be made as a gift.
- HB 1118: Motor Vehicle Administration, Records, Voluntary Disclosure of Developmental Disability – This law requires the MDOT MVA to develop and make available by January 1, 2021, a card for the voluntary self-disclosure of a developmental disability. The card should be approximately the same size as a driver’s license, be printed on blue paper, include space for details on the individual’s disability, and include written guidance on effective communication between law enforcement and people with developmental disabilities.
- HB 280: Vehicle Laws, Suspension of Driver’s License or Registration, Unpaid Citations, or Judgements – This law restricts MDOT MVA’s ability to suspend a driver’s license because of nonpayment of a traffic citation or judgment. Instead, if a defendant fails to pay a fine or enter into an installment plan, the court may refer the amount owed to the Central Collections Unit (CCU) or process the unpaid fine as any other fine owed to the court. The law reduces the fine threshold for payment plan eligibility from $300 to $150 if a defendant certifies inability to pay, and removes the requirement that installment payments constitute 10% of the total fine amount each month. If a defendant fails to pay a fine as required by their payment plan, the court may refer the fine to CCU or process as a fine owed to the court. Additionally, MDOT MVA is restricted from suspending the license and vehicle registrations of a judgment debtor and allows a debtor to may make payments on a payment plan if it’s not in default. The bill requires a study by the Department of Legislative Services, makes conforming changes, and applies retroactively.
- HB 46: Motor Vehicle Administration, Authority to Suspend Registration for Violations Recorded by Traffic Control Signal Monitoring System, Repeal – This law repeals the authority of the MDOT MVA to suspend a vehicle registration if the owner or driver fails to pay a citation from a traffic control signal monitoring system or a speed monitoring system.
For a complete list of motor vehicle laws passed by the 2020 Maryland General Assembly, click here.