The Maryland Graduated Licensing System (GLS) was implemented in July 1999. It is designed to take drivers through several levels of licensing, allowing them to gain more experience behind the wheel under the supervision of a fully licensed driver. The Rookie Driver program falls under the GLS and defined the licensing levels.

The Maryland provisional license is the second step in the Rookie Driver program, falling between the Type 1 Learner's Permit and a full driver's license. According to Maryland law, drivers who have a Type 1 Learner's Permit cannot go straight to a full driver's license. They must obtain the Provisional License first.

There are three groups of drivers who are required to get the Maryland's Provisional License:

  • New Driver – driver who has obtained a Type 1 Learner's Permit
  • Inexperienced Driver Out of State – driver from a state other than Maryland who has been driving for less than 18 months
  • Inexperienced Driver Out of Country – driver from a country other than the United States who has been driving for less than 18 months

The expiration of the license affords new and inexperienced drivers more driving experience. For drivers who are younger than 21, the Provisional License will expire 60 days after they have their 21st birthday. Drivers who are over 21, the license will expire on their birthday 8 years after it is issued.

There are several restrictions for drivers who are 18 years old or younger and are driving with a Maryland Provisional License.

  • Driver cannot drive between the hours of 12 a.m. (midnight) and 5 a.m. unless accompanied by a qualified supervising driver. A qualified supervising driver is defined as:
    • 21 years old
    • 3 years driving experience
  • There are exemptions to this law. A driver who is driving with a Provisional License may drive alone under these circumstances:
    • He or she is driving to or from work
    • He or she is driving to or from school or a school sanctioned activity
    • He or she is driving to or from a volunteer appointment or volunteer program
    • He or she is driving to or from an athletic practice, training or event
  • Driver cannot have passengers while driving for 5 months (151 days) after obtaining the Provisional License. The only exemptions to this are:
    • He or she is has a qualified supervising driver in the vehicle with them
    • All passengers in the vehicle live at the same address and are directly related such as parents, siblings or spouse
  • Driver cannot use a cell phone or any other wireless communication while driving except to make a 911 emergency call
  • Driver must ensure that all passengers are using seat belts, car seats and other appropriate restraints while the vehicle is in motion

Once the driver turns 18, these restrictions do not apply.

In order to enter into the Rookie Driver program the driver must first enroll in and successfully complete a driving school that is licensed and approved by Maryland MVA. Once the course has been completed, the driver's education certificate has been issued and the driver is 16 years and 6 months old, then they may apply for their Learner's Permit or Provisional License, whichever applies.