Dazha Austin | Contributing Writer
On May 19 parallel parking was officially removed from the driving test in Maryland. In a statement given to Fox News, Buel Young- a Maryland Motor Vehicles Administration spokesperson- said this change came after state official had determined “The man, the maneuvers and skills required to parallel park — which include backing up, using mirrors and depth perception — were already being evaluated in other parts of the test.” Young says parallel parking will continue to be a teaching requirement in state-controlled driver’s education courses in Maryland.
When you arrive to the MVA on test day, after all paperwork is completed and you get your car checked out you drive out onto a course on the MVA’s lot where you either are tested on parallel parking or on two point reverse turns. This is where you often see the walk of shame, where the instructor has to get out and switch sides of the car with you. Even though you get three minutes to complete this maneuver it’s still very nerve wrecking to sit in complete silence wondering if you’re doing everything right. Antony White, a student driver that has had his license for over a year said, “I don’t think it is completely fair to those who have taken the test over and over just to pass. Especially if that’s what made them fail.”
But don’t fret, Maryland is not the only state that has eliminated this portion of the test. Others include California, Oregon, Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee, Florida, Maine, Ohio, Arkansas, Illinois, Wyoming, Alabama, South Dakota, Colorado, and Nebraska. Kayla Hollis, a student driver from New Jersey, believes, “It’s necessary because if the only place to park is between two cars then you don’t want to owe money for a hit car.”
David Resnick, treasurer for the Maryland Professional Driver Education Association and owner of Elite Driving School, which has 14 locations in Maryland tells John Kelly of the Washington Post, “I’m actually in favor of it, 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. Our response is, nobody dies [while] parallel parking. We want to work on entering and exiting expressways and focus more on dangerous maneuvers.” Samuel Hill, a Maryland resident who is also a parent, says, “ It is extremely important. It is an easy technique once you learn it. As a parent I am still going to teach it to my kids.” Coming from a teen who lives in Maryland, and has failed their drivers test four times because of this skill, it comes as a great relief that it is being eliminated.
If anything, merging should be included in the test because in major cities, the Capital Beltway is always a mess in the acceleration and deceleration lanes. Although I am happy with this decision, students living in DC, Maryland, and Northern Virginia – the DMV- should be tested on parallel parking because of the proximity to DC, which has over 17,000 curbside parking spaces. Truthfully, I agree with people like David and Sam. The agony of trying to parallel park is not worth it. The test is stressful enough as you are worrying about speed, hand placements, and other cars. At least now there is one less thing to worry about.