Bills signed into law:

SB 371/HB 450 (SHA) Bicycle and Pedestrian Priority Areas (RSC 2, 5) gives a one-year deadline to implement a long-shelved program to address SHA bicycle pedestrian priority areas. This program has existed for 20 years and the bill mandates that the SHA put forth plans to improve specific areas for bikes and pedestrians designated by local governments.

Bills passed with signing expected:

SB 44/HB 194 Vehicle Laws – Maximum Speed Limits on Highways (RSC 1, 3, 4) allows, but does not mandate, the SHA to increase the speed limit from 65mph to 70mph on specific highways.

SB 413/HB 339 Vehicle Laws – Race-Based Traffic Stops – Policy and Reporting Requirements (RSC 2, 5) requires local traffic enforcers to report all traffic stops using specified data. The bill restores this data collection for five years and the data will be used for law enforcement agencies.

SB 868/HB 1231 Public Utilities – Transportation Network Services (RSC 4) will allow services such as Uber and Lyft to operate in Maryland, and builds in measures to assure passengers of safer rides through vehicle inspections, driver background checks, fare information and disclosure, receipts, insurance requirements, and web accessibility.

HB 300 Department of Transportation – Washington Metropolitan Transit Authority Services – Utilization Study (RSC 2, 5) added amendments so that MDOT and WMATA will work in cooperation to study and issue a report every five years as to how the bus, rail, and subway governed by WMATA are used. The first study report will be due December 1, 2015.

Bills not passed, but expected to be seen another year:

SB 778/HB 172 Task Force to Study Issues Related to the Use of Self-Driving Vehicles (RSC 3, 4) Many states have passed laws about self-driving cars, and this task force would have studied those laws, as well as current Maryland law. Since implementing this bill would cost an addition of $100,000 to the budget, it was not considered crucial at this time.

Driving under the influence and mandated use of Ignition Interlock System Program were part of a number of bills this year. None passed, but they may return in a similar form.

Barbara Ditzler