Maryland Traffic Law
Maryland Traffic Attorneys
According to the Maryland law code, specifically Transportation Title 21, Subtitle 1, Section 21-102, individuals are required to comply with the state’s vehicle laws and rules of the road outlined in Title 21. Section 21-103 emphasizes the importance of obeying orders and directions from police officers, as well as any received summons or summons to testify under oath related to charges under the Vehicle Law of Maryland.
Maryland traffic laws apply to various road users, including drivers, pedestrians, cyclists, animal riders, snowmobile operators, roadway workers, emergency vehicles, and school crossing guards. Title 21 covers a wide range of details regarding the use of public roadways, such as traffic signs, signals, markings, correct lane usage, passing, pedestrian rights, turning and starting procedures, speed restrictions, parking regulations, towing, operation of bicycles and recreational vehicles, and toll facilities, among others.
In 2001, the Maryland General Assembly passed TR 25-113, which focuses on collecting data on traffic stops to address possible racial profiling. Starting from January 1, 2013, data from traffic stops has been electronically recorded and submitted. If you have any questions about traffic laws, charges against you, or the collection of traffic stop data, we recommend consulting a Maryland traffic violations lawyer from our office.
Traffic Signs, Signals, and Markings
Subtitle 2 of the Maryland law code provides detailed information on traffic signs, signals, and markings that drivers encounter on public roads. It explains the meaning of these indicators and how drivers should interpret them. For instance, Sections 21-202 and 21-204 specify the indications of red, yellow, and green lights, both steady and flashing. It also addresses the illegal actions of tampering with signs or placing unauthorized signs on public roadways.
Section 21-207 specifically covers vehicle funeral processions, allowing them to proceed through red lights while other traffic must yield and not interfere with the procession. Vehicles in the procession must have their headlights on to be granted the right of way.
Driving on the Right and Passing
Section 21-301 states that drivers should generally stay on the right-hand side of the road on wide enough roads. However, this rule does not prohibit crossing the center lane to make a left turn into or out of a private drive or alley.
No passing zones, one-way roads, and following too closely are outlined in Sections 21-307, 21-308, and 21-310.
Violating any of these rules described in Subtitle 3 may result in being pulled over by law enforcement and receiving penalties. If you have experienced this, our traffic violations lawyers in Maryland are available to help you understand the code and explore your options.
Right of Way
Determining the right of way can be confusing and can lead to accidents and traffic violations. Sections 21-401 to 21-405 provide information on who has the right of way at different types of intersections, including left turns, U-turns, stopping and yielding, merging onto highways, and interactions with emergency vehicles.
Typically, vehicles on the right have the right of way at intersections in the absence of traffic control devices. At a “T” intersection without a light or other control device, drivers on the continuing roadway have the right of way, while drivers on the intersecting roadway must yield.
In general, emergency vehicles always have the right of way, and other vehicles must yield to them when they display lawful lights and signals.
Pedestrians’ Rights and Rules
Section 21-501 specifies that pedestrians must obey traffic control signals. In the absence of traffic signals, pedestrians always have the right of way. Section 21-504 cautions drivers to exercise caution when encountering pedestrians, especially children and disabled individuals.
Section 21-507 outlines activities that are illegal for pedestrians, including soliciting rides or employment, asking others to watch their vehicles, and begging for money in certain counties. Exceptions may be made if a driver asks for help in the case of a broken-down vehicle.
Section 21-801 requires drivers to maintain a reasonable and prudent speed. It also states that drivers must control their vehicle’s speed to avoid collisions with moving and stationary objects. Decreased speed is encouraged at railroad crossings, on curves, and on narrow, winding roads.
Specific roadways have designated speed limits, such as 15 miles per hour in Baltimore County alleys, 30 miles per hour on business district highways and undivided residential district highways, 35 miles per hour on divided residential district highways, 50 miles per hour on other undivided highways, and 55 miles per hour on other divided highways. Section 21-807 mandates that documents charging drivers with speeding include the alleged speed and the maximum speed limit of the location. If a driver was driving too slowly, the minimum speed must also be noted.
If you believe you have received an unjust traffic ticket for speeding, we recommend speaking to one of our Maryland traffic violations attorneys during a free initial consultation.
Reckless Driving and Eluding Police
Section 21-901.1 defines reckless driving as operating a vehicle with willful disregard for safety or with negligence that endangers people or property. Section 21-902.2 defines aggressive driving as violating three or more specified traffic laws simultaneously.
Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs or consuming alcohol while on the road is strictly prohibited, and additional attention is given to cases involving minors. The Criminal Law Code of Maryland provides further definitions in § 5-101.
Both drivers and pedestrians are required to obey the directions of police officers and must not attempt to elude law enforcement, whether in a vehicle or on foot, according to Section 21-904.
Bicycles, Motorcycles, and Recreation Vehicles
Section 21-1202 states that individuals operating bicycles or motor scooters have the same rights and legal requirements as other drivers. The code prohibits attaching these modes of transportation, as well as sleds, skateboards, roller skates, and other recreational vehicles, to other vehicles for towing or recreation purposes.
According to Section 21-1207.1, all cyclists are required to wear helmets unless in exceptional circumstances. Failure to wear a helmet when required may result in a warning from law enforcement. Section 21-1210 reminds cyclists of the risks associated with using headsets and earplugs.
Section 21-1301 establishes that motorcycle drivers have the same rights as other motorists and must comply with the laws of the road. Motorcycles themselves must be appropriately equipped for the type of roadway being used, including having properly sized engines.
This summary does not encompass all of the laws and regulations governing Maryland state roads. Citizens can find more detailed information in the Maryland Code of Transportation, Title 21. Violating these rules puts individuals at risk of being stopped by law enforcement and receiving penalties. If you have any concerns or questions regarding traffic laws or violations you have received, please contact our traffic violations attorneys in Maryland and schedule a free initial consultation.