Maryland Removes Parallel Parking from Road Tests

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Parallel parking is a critical stress factor for many young teens taking their driver’s road test in the United States. The majority of road tests that are marked as failures are often because of parallel parking. Maryland is doing something to change that; but instead of stepping up driver’s education or making parking standards more lenient, they’re dropping the requirement altogether.

As of May 19th, the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration has trashed the parallel parking requirement in road tests. In the past few years, over a dozen other states have done the same. Buel Young, an official from the MMVA, says that simply doing a 2-point turn and backing up is good enough, a “reverse two-point turnabout”, basically backing into a parking spot.

This new policy will make things easier for teens to get their licences, but will it make things harder for everybody else? That’s the question that’s being asked now, considering Maryland is so close to the nation’s capital.

Many people living in urban areas in both regions say that it’s extremely important to know how to parallel park in a city. Many parents in city areas are also concerned that the next generation of drivers won’t have the skills necessary to drive in an urban area.

There are many arguments bashing the new policy, but the truth is that the latest advances in vehicle technology will soon render many archaic driving practices obsolete. Even newer cars are actually able to parallel park themselves, making the driver’s knowledge of the skill almost entirely unnecessary.  Ford, Nissan, Land Rover, Mercedes-Benz and BMW all have vehicles which will more-or-less do the job without you even touching the steering wheel, although it remains a very high-end (i.e. expensive) option on most of those.

Also, schools which offer driver education programs will be able to focus more on driver’s safety rather than parallel parking.

Ford's Active Park Assist is offered on many of their models.  Active park assist uses two ultrasonic sensors and electric power-assisted steering to help drivers parallel park. The sensors measure the gap between two vehicles to determine if there is enough room for the F-150. After confirming the F-150 can fit, the truck automatically steers into the space, while the driver operates the accelerator and brake pedals.
Composite from Ford publicity photos.
Ford’s Active Park Assist is offered on many of their models. Active park assist uses two ultrasonic sensors and electric power-assisted steering to help drivers parallel park. The sensors measure the gap between two vehicles to determine if there is enough room for the F-150. After confirming the F-150 can fit, the truck automatically steers into the space, while the driver operates the accelerator and brake pedals.