The Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA) announced that they no longer consider parallel parking as an integral part of a driving test in order for applicants to have their driver's license approved. This also means that people from Maryland are no longer required to prove that they can parallel park in order to pass the test.

If this is the case, Maryland would be the latest state to join a number of other states which have also opted out parallel parking on their drivers' tests.  

While the reasons vary, there are at least two of them which had been particularly pointed out. First of all, parallel parking, statistically speaking, is one of the safest categories of driving maneuvers. Second, most states have a higher number of their citizens living in suburban and rural areas compared to those who dwell in cities.

Officials at the Maryland MVA also explained that they are excluding the parallel parking portion from the test after they have noticed that in reality, they have been testing drivers numerous times for the same skill.

"In our constant reassessment of the test that we offer, we looked at our driver's skills tests and it was determined that some of the other maneuvers that are performed during the test actually test for the same skills that we're looking for the driver to possess that we would have tested for during the parallel parking," said Buel Young, spokesman for the Maryland MVA.

Safety, according to driving instructors, is really not a big issue with parallel parking. What they are more concerned about is teaching new drivers on executing difficult maneuvers such as making U-turns and entering on short highway ramps.

According to a study conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in February on driver-related critical reasons for crash, 845,000 of these crashes out of the total 2,046,000 were attributed to recognition error while 684,000 had been attributed to decision error. Only 210,000 cases were due to performance error. These statistics therefore suggest that it is more important for driving instructors to prioritize driver decision-making skills in their instruction instead of using up a lot of time to explain the ins and outs of parallel parking.

"We have a lot of parents who want us to make sure we spend a lot of time on parallel parking and make it a focus of a large portion of behind-the-wheel training," said David Resnick, treasurer for the Maryland Professional Driver Education Association. "Our response is, nobody dies [while] parallel parking. We want to work on entering and exiting expressways and focus on more dangerous maneuvers." 

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