That most palm-sweating moment of a 16-year-old's life—when it comes time to parallel park during one's driving test—isn't something Maryland teens need to, well, sweat anymore. As of yesterday, the road test no longer includes parallel parking, potentially swelling the number of drivers in the region who haven't practiced the skill over and over: The Washington Post reports the skill isn't a part of the test in DC or Virginia, either. A rep for the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration explains that the test does include a "reverse two-point turnabout," and that the skill set is so similar the MVA determined it could ax parallel parking. The turnabout part of the test has a driver drive past a nonparallel parking spot, stop, and then reverse into it, explains the Baltimore Sun.
One driving instructor says he heard (though not from an MVA source) the fail rate for parallel parking was "pretty high, and they want to be able to push people through," which the Post interprets as cut down on lines. Indeed, the Sun reports the MVA has been battling painful wait times for drivers for a year-plus. The paper also has the overall failure stat, and it's a biggie: 47% (of 154,526) didn't pass the driving test last year, though the breakdown on those who were scuttled by parallel parking is unknown. USA Today has a map of all the states (there are a bunch) that don't test for parallel parking; check it out here. (Read more Maryland stories.)