Maryland drops parallel parking from driver’s test

WASHINGTON — It’s part of the driving experience dreaded by many drivers, young and old — parallel parking.

Trying to fit your car between two other cars, often with only inches to spare, can test the skills and confidence of any driver.

Well, drivers applying for their licenses in Maryland can breathe a little easier.

Maryland’s Motor Vehicle Administration has dropped parallel parking from its statewide test.

“The MVA consistently evaluates its assessments of both the knowledge and skills tests,” the agency’s Buel Young tells WTOP.

Young says the skills demonstrated in other tests including judging space and backing are similar to parallel parking.

“In analyzing the skills test, it was determined that the currently used 2-point reverse turn, when combined with the on-road portions of the test, adequately assessed the individual’s ability to operate the vehicle.”

Young says parallel parking is still required as part of the curriculum in driver’s education courses, but as of Monday would no longer be used in the behind-the-wheel part of the test.

Maryland’s driver’s test includes some testing on a closed course, and some testing in traffic. Until now, parallel parking was tested on a closed course.

Sixteen-year-old junior Nicole Folkes is excited about the change.  She has her driving permit, and will likely take lessons over the summer before taking the driver’s test.

WTOP’s Michelle Basch talked to students about the change near Bethesda Chevy Chase High School.

“There’s a slight chance that I can actually pass now,” she said with a laugh.  ” A lot of my friends have actually already gotten their license, so they’re really upset that they had to go through all the parallel parking stuff and I don’t.”

But another junior, 17-year-old Cooper Moore, doesn’t think the MVA should have gotten rid of the parallel parking requirement.

“If you can’t parallel park, especially around where I live, then you really can’t drive, because…parallel parking is the only parking to get to some of these places and shops and stuff.”

WTOP’s Michelle Basch contributed to this report.



Neal Augenstein

Neal Augenstein has been a reporter at WTOP since 1997. Through the years, Neal has covered many of the crimes and trials that have gripped the region. Neal's been pleased to receive awards over the years for hard news, feature reporting, use of sound and sports.

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