Md. driver's test no longer includes parallel parking

Those looking to obtain a driver's license in Maryland no longer have to prove they can parallel park without crushing an orange cone.

The long-required maneuver was eliminated from the state's driving test course Tuesday after Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration officials determined the skills required to perform it are sufficiently tested in another reverse turning maneuver, said Buel Young, an MVA spokesman.


"We constantly re-evaluate and reassess our test, and when looking at the noncommercial Class C driver's skills test, it was determined that we were testing individuals several times for the same skills," Young said.

Parallel parking will continue to be taught to new drivers as part of the state-controlled curriculum for driver's education courses in Maryland, Young said.

Other states, including Virginia, also do not require parallel parking as part of their driving tests.

The skills — including "backing, braking, use of mirrors, steering, speed control" and others — are also evaluated during what is known as a "two-point turn," Young said, in which drivers pass beyond a nonparallel parking spot and then back into it.

The MVA has been struggling for more than a year to diminish long waiting periods for people trying to take the state's driving test. Young said he did not know of any connection between that effort and the removal of parallel parking, and couldn't speculate as to whether the removal of the maneuver would decrease the average amount of time a driving test takes.

"I don't know if it will shorten the amount of time," he said. "We don't have any data right now because we just instituted [the change] yesterday."

In fiscal 2014, 47 percent of the 154,526 people who took the driving test in Maryland failed, but Young said the MVA does not have statistics on the number of people who failed because of their inability to parallel park.